Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lunch at SAIT

So its been a few days since my last post but I had good reason. I was travelling from Ireland home to Calgary and it takes me a couple of days between the travelling itself, then visiting with my family and getting over the jet lag. But I had a great event to enjoy the day I landed: the Christmas Lunch Buffet by the culinary students at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology).

The pate and purees table

There is a restaurant on the grounds of the school and the students in the culinary program prepare the food. Normally its a set card menu but on most Thursdays its a buffet. It can be difficult to get a table as its $25 per person and you get an amazing spread, so the value makes it very popular. They put on a Christmas themed meal this time of year, so my Nana was quite anxious to book a table. We were on a wait list but found out the day before that a table had become available. Guess she knows the right people, luckily for me!

The cheese, cracker and fruits table

The lunch service began at 11:30 so we arrived nice and early, which gave me a chance to take pictures of the set up before the throngs of diners arrived (after asking permission of course!). I'll try to share what we experienced here, but I know it won't do it justice.

The sculpting was amazing!

There were so many delicious foods! All the servings were nice and tiny though which suited us perfectly so between a few of us we could take quite a few items and all have a taste. The food was fantastic, it was beautifully presented and it was a lot of fun to be enjoying the tiny servings. So without further ado, here we go!

Chicken consomme with prawn dumpling
The breads selection

For the first course we had the option of chicken consomme with prawn dumpling or broccoli and cheddar. We all decided to go for the consomme and it was just delicious. A great way to start the meal and it had the added bonus of warming us up since it is pretty darn cold outside!

From top left: chicken and ham roll; venison pate; smoked salmon mousse with salmon en croute; salmon, artichoke and dill mousse; parsnip puree

For the second course we tackled the pate table. Oh my goodness the selection was amazing. Of this selection the venison was my favorite. It was lightly spiced which kept a warm feeling in my mouth after it was finished. I wasn't too sold on the parsnip puree, but I guess that's not too surprising as I'm not mad about parsnips anyway :)

From top: braised beef in tomato with curry; arctic char; butternut squash dahl on pilau rice; tomato stuffed with mushrooms; fresh gnocci with pesto; potato pave; green beans in black bean sauce

The entree had another wonderful selection of delicious foods. The braised beef was everyone's favorite. It was delicious and just fell apart. The butternut squash dahl was a very close second and everyone groaned in delight when tasting the mushroom-stuffed tomato. Oh my mouth is watering now just thinking about it!

The best part of any meal!!

Oh the dessert. Oh me oh my. Our table was right beside the dessert display so we had lots of time to scope it out and make our selections. We couldn't choose just one, so did what we had for the previous two courses: filled up a plate and everyone grabbed a fork :)

Clockwise from top: mango and raspberry mousse push up; raspberry/chocolate fudge with crushed pistachios; cranberries in a mix of creams on a shortbread biscuit topped with a decorated milk chocolate disc; fruit tart; hazelnut banana cake; chocolate and cream cheese brownie; pistachio, cranberry and peanut nougat.
In center: peanut butter, banana, chocolate and peanut mousse.

The desserts were lovely. My favorite was the cranberry in creams. Until ...
Pumpkin Creme Brulee


This dessert was just divine. There were none when we went up to get our desserts as they just flew off the table. But oh me oh my it blew the rest of the treats out of the water. It was like pumpkin pie but slightly more spicy and a little sweeter. Oh my goodness, it was a real treat. A fantastic way to finish up a wonderful afternoon.

If you are every in Calgary I'd say you need to get to this buffet if you can. There are a lot of students around that will answer any questions about any of the dishes. And their pride in their work is very apparent, and extremely well deserved. It was a fantastic afternoon and a great way to start getting over jet lag :)

Have you ever been at an event like this? Do you prefer to have one thing for your meal or do you like tasting lots of different things?

Jenn x


  1. Pumpkin creme brulee sounds divine! And hats off to people that can carve fruit and vegetables. I'm utterly hopeless at it :P

  2. Oooh, that reminds me of what we used to do at CNC with our restaurant! Jealous! It looks so wonderful! Glad you enjoyed it. Have you been our tobogganing yet?