When Erik Anderson was hired to teach at Camosun in 1981, he was elated because it was the job he’d always wanted.
Even during his time as the Executive Chef at Government House, he viewed the Camosun Professional Cook program with interest. Erik appreciated the applied learning available to Camosun students who daily prepared meals for about 200 people at the Interurban cafeteria. Everything had to be ready by 11:30am – the students soon understood what the “real” world is like.
Camosun’s Professional Cook program evolved during Erik’s 27-year tenure. One of the additions came from a desire to have students cooking and serving in an actual restaurant. This gave birth to the “ClassRoom Restaurant” which quickly became very popular in the community.
In 1986, Camosun was approached by the Provincial Apprenticeship Branch to undertake a pilot program offering the Cook Apprentice Technical Training. Before that, all apprentice cook training was done at BCIT. Erik was in charge of the pilot which required him to conduct a daily cooking lab. But there was no “lab”, only an old portable classroom without running water, ventilation or refrigeration – just tables and chairs for the students and a two burner stove with an overhead mirror for Erik. Somehow he made it work, and Camosun became the centre for Cook Apprenticeship Training on Vancouver Island.
In 1991 the program Coordinator, Helmut Huber, passed away and Erik was asked to take over the role. Being Coordinator involved managing the department and cafeteria; scheduling and teaching; attending meetings; preparing budgets; and monitoring student numbers. A challenging job which Erik filled for 17 years.
Over the years the department (which changed its name to Culinary Arts in 2003) participated in many student competitions which put Camosun on the culinary map. Erik was involved in these competitions, both as a student coach and organizer. Camosun managed to produce four Canadian Apprentice Champions and one World Champion.