Peter Anderson











About Peter Anderson

Peter Anderson was an apprentice chef between 1974 and 1978 at McLure’s Family Restaurant in St Kilda Road in Melbourne. He enrolled to do his training at William Angliss. At that time there were no other hospitality training colleges in Melbourne.

He explains that in his first year there were too many students and so he was sent to Brighton Technical School. The teachers were from William Angliss but were not happy about domestic science kitchen and would often dismiss the students early and go to the pub. The training was very basic – largely because of the training environment but it was very different when he went into second year which was at William Angliss, “when we got to the next year it was really hard!” he comments.

He remembers that chef-teachers team taught and often would not agree on how things were to be done. Colin Duncan was an inspirational teacher and they ended up working together at the Arts Centre. Ernie Schwab was also teaching him there.

Peter describes the atmosphere at William Angliss: It was wonderful – walking through the long corridors can only be compared to seeing the cricket at Lords – and there was an aura those days … 40 years ago. I think it was to do with the old buildings ­– the long corridors through all the different sections ­­– it was not like any other environment in any of the other colleges that I have seen then and now.

After finishing his apprenticeship Peter went overseas for a year then came back to work at the Pickwick Restaurant, then Ansett Airlines. At this time he decided he no longer wanted to be a chef – the thought of doing this work at 50 years old scared him so he moved into management and front of house joining the Denny’s group which was licenced by Ansett.  He then worked for Spotless at the Arts Centre and eventually opened his own restaurant Selby’s in the 1990s. This was a difficult time to be operating a restaurant and eventually he sold this business and joined Graham Brown’s team and worked as a teacher at Dandenong Tafe.

The biggest change that he has seen in the industry is that chefs are more mature now and better mannered. They no longer rant and rave and throw tantrums –this sort of behaviour is no longer tolerated.

Peter acknowledges the role William Angliss played in his career: William Angliss had a reputation in the era – there was no one else providing catering training but wherever I went – even overseas – it was recognised so it was good for my reputation. I had quality training

Summary of the Interview


Interviewer: Jill Adams
Interviewee: Peter Anderson
Date of Interview: 20/08/2012   
Recording Format: MP3     



Key Words










Student Life at WAI

  • 1974 – 1978 enrolled as an apprentice chef but sent to Brighton Tech School for the first year because there was an overflow of students
  • There was no other training provider for apprentice cooks around so worked out a collaboration with Brighton Tech which made the first year was very basic
  • Was doing apprenticeship for McLure’s for 4 days a week and one day at school
  • Remembers instructor Colin Duncan being an inspiration in terms of culinary standards
  • Training was a bit scary but set a high standard
  • Teachers used to team-teach and the partners could never agree on how things were supposed to be done
  • Great experience and a lot of fun with many friends made
  • Atmosphere at WAI was wonderful, compares walking through compared to seeing the cricket at Lords, as the atmosphere was wonderful and there was an aura in those days
  • The old buildings with the long corridors through all the different sections, not like any other environment in any of the other colleges around


William Angliss Institute (WAI); apprentice chef; domestic science kitchen; Brighton Tech School; Home Economics Classroom; Latrobe Street; training provider; pea & ham soup; soaking; ham hock; chicken stock; McLure’s; St Kilda Road; Commercial Kitchen; Cookery; Colin Duncan; Chisholm TAFE; Arts’ Centre; Ernie Schwab; culinary standards; team-teaching; Gazpacho Soup; Frankston TAFE; Moorabbin TAFE; training kitchens; city location; campus set- up;




Career Highlights

  • After WAI went to work overseas for a year in Europe then came back and worked at the Pickwick Restaurant
  • Then became a flight chef for Ansett, which wasn’t much of a culinary challenge but had great perks
  •  Changed to front-of-house manager with Denny’s group of restaurants and went back to school to complete Certificate of Catering and a business course
  • Moved up management structure in various places, for Spotless Caterers in the Arts’ Centre
  • Opened Selby’s in the 1990s, which proved to be a tough time for restaurants
  • Then started teaching at Dandenong TAFE and worked for Graham Brown and taught front-of house and business for cooks and food and beverage
  • Chefs were pretty horrible people in the 1970s with lots of yelling and screaming; now a more mature industry and mad chefs are not tolerated
Europe; Pickwick Restaurant; Ansett Airlines; Mass-production; Front-of-House; Denny’s Group; Box Hill TAFE; RMIT; Business course; management structure; theatre manager; catering for occasions; Victorian Arts Centre; Spotless; Selby’s; South Melbourne; Dandenong TAFE; Casey TAFE; Graham Brown; international education; business mathematics; food & beverage; salamander; Gordon Ramsey;

WAI Memories & Influences

  • WAI had a reputation in the era, as there was nowhere else providing catering training, even overseas it was recognised as having quality training
  • Still sees people he trained with and the teachers he had been the most influential in his career
Reputation; quality; competition & choice for training now;

Interview Concludes


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