About Rooks to Cooks 

Rooks to Cooks is a unique cooking school based out of Toronto, Ontario. It was founded by Chef Shai Mandel in 2017 as an extension of her services offered since 2015. Through many of our mobile programs, Rooks to Cooks assures that no matter where you live or how hectic your schedule is, our programs and services will be accessible. Rooks to Cooks was developed to be first and foremost student-centered and flexible. We know that each student is unique with their own learning goals. For this reason, we make sure that any course, class or program offered through Rooks to Cooks accommodates all students and their individual needs. Our mission is simple: through our various cooking education programs, we will help our students become more independent and reach their fullest potential, in and out of the kitchen. 

The programs offered by Rooks to Cooks began with in-home private lessons and have now expanded to include 10 sessions of children's cooking camps in the summer, after school programs and school workshops. We are also in the midst of developing crash courses for university students that will take place in high schools and in pop-up sites. We recognize that learning new skills, especially cooking, can be intimidating; that's why we build our programs to be fun, inviting, as well as intensive. Our programs and services always emphasize themes of healthy eating, and teach our students how to live a fulfilling healthy life. No matter your age or skill level, Rooks to Cooks is your recipe for success! 

Current programs offered through Rooks to Cooks: 

  1. Summer cooking camp programs
  2. After School Programs & School workshops
  3. In-home private lessons & classes  
  4. Birthday parties and special events 


Chef Shai & The Origins of Rooks To Cooks 

Founder Chef Shai Mandel 

Bachelor of Kinesiology, Wilfrid Laurier University
Bachelor of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University
Chef Training Certificate, George Brown College 

Rooks to Cooks was founded by Chef Shai Mandel, a chef and teacher. Shai has been working in kitchens her whole life, having a passion for food and cooking since childhood. While completing a Kinesiology degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, she would spend her free time working in the culinary industry, dedicated to perfecting her skills. In her 7+ years working as a chef, Shai has worked with some of the most renowned chefs in Canada, especially appreciating the friendship and guidance she received from Jonathan Goodyear, executive chef for Magna Golf Club and finalist of Top Chef Canada, Season 3. Shai has held various positions in all aspects of the industry from pastry and large quantity production, to fine dining. During her career as a chef, Shai had the opportunity to train many people in various positions. It was through this training that she discovered not only her passion for cooking, but her passion for teaching.

Shai attended teachers college at Wilfrid Laurier University, officially becoming an Ontario Certified Teacher in 2015. While working as a student teacher for the Waterloo Region School Board, Shai organized and implemented various cooking after-school programs and events, falling in love with teaching youth how to cook and bake. She held the position of Lead Instructor at Summer Chef School in Waterloo, where she developed the curriculum and lessons for the school. During this experience, she had the privilege of teaching over 320 kids of all ages the culinary arts. Since then, Shai had a vision of opening her own children's cooking school in Toronto. This dream became a reality with the birth of Rooks to Cooks.