Spoil Yourself With Fine Dining at Ernest’s

*Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Ernest’s Dining Room. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. I will always provide my 100% honest and transparent opinion, the complimentary dinner did not impact my feedback.

Since the 1960s, NAIT’s dining room has been a huge part of the Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies. This allowed the 2nd year students to have hands-on experience in crafting delicious food and providing top quality experience. In 2005, it was renovated to provide a more modern feel while still holding on to its quality. 

This is when the dining room was renamed to Ernest’s.

John Hokanson and his wife, Susan Hokanson has been more than just a huge support system to the Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies but they have been on-going contributors to this department’s success! John wanted to honor his father, Ernest Hokanson, who lived out his lifelong passion for food throughout his years.

Ernest’s is named one of the 100 best restaurants in Canada for foodies by OpenTable

When I visited Ernest’s on May 25th I couldn’t help but notice the unique decor they had around the dining room.

Turns out, the majority of the decor was created by students from the Welding department.

Ernest’s holds a total of 4 kitchens where every 5 weeks they rotate 2nd-year students around so that everyone has an equal experience crafting their skills. Not only do the students rotate, but so does their menu. Both main menu as well as dessert.

Spoil Yourself With Fine Dining at Ernest | Confessions of a Scorpio

Having said that, Ernest’s is the busiest once September hits bringing in new chef instructors every season. One of the Chefs in Residence, Amanda Cohen (owner of Dirt Candy) has taught students how to create delicious vegetable-only menu items. I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to taste her menu, but it’s definitely worth putting on my to-do list.

I find it fascinating how involved the students are.

This hidden gem not only allow students from the Culinary Arts program to create a menu worth lining up for but students from the Hospitality Program also have a chance to provide amazing service to all the guests eagerly wanting this unique experience. The meat that they use on Ernest’s menu comes from the Meat Cutting program (which btw, has a public shop for people to come and purchase meat as well. This too opens after September!) and the dessert is made from the students from Professional Baking and Pastry Arts. Actually, a friend of mine graduated from there and she does make really amazing treats, you can follow her on Sincerely Sydnie with her correlating Instagram account over here.

The coaster is created by students from the Welding Department

Although I may not have come to Ernest’s when the department is back in session, I still enjoyed the inviting dining room and unique experience. The service was amazing, let alone the food itself. I enjoyed learning about its history and being in awe of its decor. I personally never knew that I could receive an amazing fine dining experience in a school! And I know most people are wary about students in the kitchen, but mind you – these 2nd-year students have amazing mentors and are graded for their work.

NAIT’s Ernest’s holds events starting in August and the most popular ones are the Friday Buffets. Surprisingly, it’s only June and some of those buffet dates are already booked out! I’m so intrigued by a person’s passion that I’m looking forward to coming back and hopefully being able to sit down with a student and ask about their experience while indulging in their craft.

A huge thank you to these two beautiful ladies who joined my friend and me for a great dinner. Thank you, Melody, for inviting me to partake in this amazing experience

Ernest’s Dining Room
10701-118 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5G 2R1
Phone: 780-471-8676
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  • Reply Candy

    I first scrolled through the post before reading it cuz the food looked so amazing. Then when I scrolled back up to read the post, I was so surprised that this was all run and created by students! I hope you get a chance to talk to some of the students next time because this is such an awesome and unique experience. The food and presentation are amazing.

    June 6, 2017 at 12:38 PM
    • Reply Glenda

      One day if you and/or crystal come to visit, I’ll take you <3

      August 14, 2017 at 8:15 PM
  • Reply Chrissy

    Haha, this is so tempting. I’m currently eating healthy and looking at this makes my mouth water.

    June 6, 2017 at 2:17 PM
  • Reply Jennifer M

    I definitely need to try it! Everything looks so delicious and fancy!!!

    June 6, 2017 at 2:40 PM
  • Reply Sheree

    What a nice restaurant!! The food looked soooo good, not to mention those TDF desserts….YUM! Thanks for introducing this great place.

    xo Sheree

    June 6, 2017 at 5:12 PM
  • Reply Candace

    Now this is what I call fine dining! That restaurant is decorated beautifully. How amazing is it that it was designed by welding students? I would love to try Amanda Cohen’s vegetable-only menu items. I’m thinking of becoming a vegetarian one day and I’m sure her recipes would push me farther in that direction!

    June 6, 2017 at 9:26 PM
  • Reply Style&Life by Susana (@StyleBySusana)

    This was done by students???? Damn!!! The food looks like first class and the presentation of it is so good!!! Amazing photos x

    June 7, 2017 at 1:51 AM
  • Reply JM Kayne

    Mouthwatering food even just through the photos! It’s interesting that students could do hand-on practice/crafting with a fine-dining resto such as this. John is so sweet to actually name after their place into his Father. 🙂 .

    God bless!
    JM Kayne <3

    June 7, 2017 at 5:42 AM
  • Reply lanaluu

    Oh, I love this place! Love the decor, food, portions – everything looks so amazing! Such a great opportunity for students to become professionals!

    June 9, 2017 at 1:19 AM
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    July 3, 2017 at 3:19 AM
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    July 5, 2017 at 7:58 AM
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  • Reply celeste

    Everything looks so good! I love it!

    July 13, 2017 at 2:33 PM
  • Reply Lisa

    That is such a neat concept! And that food looks delicious!!

    July 13, 2017 at 9:43 PM
  • Reply Jessica Lam

    The food looks SO good here! I love all of your photos!

    July 13, 2017 at 10:24 PM
  • Reply Befitting Style

    There is nothing wrong with spoiling yourself! It’s impearative!

    July 17, 2017 at 1:12 PM
  • Reply Tracey

    Such a hidden gem in Edmonton! I had no idea 🙂 We will have to check it out sometime.

    August 30, 2017 at 1:16 PM
  • Reply Malissa lea

    Great post! The food looks delicious and it at my old college, great excuse to visit.

    August 30, 2017 at 2:27 PM
  • Reply Lana Palmer

    The food looks just amazing. I might have to check it out.

    August 31, 2017 at 4:32 PM
  • Reply Angela Patrick

    This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing and I’m seriously going to check them out. I need to share this with my high school aged son who is possibly interested in culinary arts!

    August 31, 2017 at 9:34 PM
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