CCI chef reflects on what it is like cooking at the White House

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Thor Erickson worked at a restaurant
in California for 30 years before
moving to Bend in 1992. He enjoyed
teaching his co-workers culinary techniques
and this is what made him pursue
a job in teaching. In 2009 Erickson
got a part- time teaching position
at Cascade Culinary Institute and said
from the first day he knew he “loved
teaching.”
In 2013 Erickson was nominated
for an award by the International Association
of Culinary Professionals for
instructor of the year that he went on
to win. That led to him being chosen
by the International Association of Culinary
Professionals to go to the White
House. He had no idea what he would
be doing there or who he might be
cooking for.
“I was just going to roll with the
punches,” Erickson said.
When he arrived he first met with
the head of the kitchen staff they talked
about a day of education and team
building and Erickson learned they had
just begun a program of food preservation.
Food preservation can consist of
pickling curing or even making jams.
When he was informed that he would
be teaching the kitchen staff how to
butcher and cure a whole pig Erickson
said he “was relieved.”
“That is one of the main skills I
teach at CCI,” Erickson said.
“I gained a lot of knowledge about
what people are and if I can teach at
the White House nothing is impossible,”
Erickson said. “Students think
big things are unattainable when all
they need to do is just ask, just reach
out and try.”

 

Kristin Castro | The Broadside
(Contact: kcastro@cocc.edu)

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