Eric Stromquist

How do your colleagues describe you?

My colleagues describe me as “ethical, practical, even-tempered, and kind”, and most often “a good listener” and “a patient teacher.”

Why do you do what you do?

Taking paths less traveled has led me to some interesting places and pursuits, but of all the things I’ve done, teaching has been my favorite. Owning a small business is more complicated and difficult than people imagine and being able to draw on my academic knowledge and real-life experience to help people be successful is both satisfying and fun.


Eric spent over 40 years around the Portland restaurant scene, starting as a server with McCormick & Schmick’s while completing his BS degree at PSU, then becoming director of their retail products division. He co-founded Hot Lips Pizza in 1985, also working as a consultant and instructor at Portland’s SBDC. He joined Western Culinary Institute in 1996 as an instructor, eventually becoming VP of Academic Affairs before co-founding Oregon Culinary Institute in 2006 where he served as President until 2015.

In 2019, after a lifetime in Portland, Eric moved with his wife to Astoria where he is looking forward to engaging with his adopted North Coast community to help small businesses be successful.