Executive Chef Erik Mauke developed a love for cooking growing up working in his family-owned and run Bakery and Delicatessen. Born and raised in Mississauga Ontario, Erik grew up in a German / Austrian household in which old world value of good food and baking was instilled. Erik’s earliest memories are filled with the pungent smells of the delicatessen cooking and his father’s savoury banana bread and other baking. It seemed only natural to Erik that after working in the bakery and delicatessen in his formative years that his career and post-secondary studies focus on his passion: food. Early in Erik’s career he landed in a high-volume steakhouse in his hometown. It is there he began to acquire essential basic kitchen skills and experience with all aspects of restaurant operations.

However, after several years at the steak house, Erik sought a different culinary experience. He found a position as Saucier at a very busy, from scratch Italian kitchen. The position was a fateful one. There he met and created a long-standing friendship with Chef Olaf Mertens. Chef Olaf became Erik’s mentor and inspiration. He inspires Erik to this day, helping him push forward and to only dream bigger.

Shortly after meeting Chef Olaf, Erik enrolled in Chef Apprenticeship school at Humber College. Erik completed the program with honors, while also winning the prestigious Escoffier award of leadership. At Humber Erik learned much of the classic French approach to cooking, which still influence his cooking style today. Over time, Erik began to experiment with the fusion of French dishes, using international ingredients.

Not satisfied with his experiences at home, Erik set out to explore his roots and crossed the Atlantic to Germany, apprenticing in 2 of Germany’s finest hotels. He worked side by side with German Master Chefs, absorbing their skills and techniques. Learning a multitude of new cooking styles and regional specialties. Upon returning, he once again met with Chef Olaf, helping him open his newest restaurant. This time Erik took on the role of Sous Chef. When offered a position as Executive Chef, Erik jumped for the opportunity, as this is what he was working so hard towards. Still working under Chef Olaf’s leadership, Erik was able to really grow and expand his knowledge in this position. He was the cornerstone of an energetic and create group of young chefs. He was responsible for all aspects of menu development, along with food and staff management. Erik spent several great years there, the restaurant and team flourished during his tenure.

Erik, with his adventurous spirit, decided it was time to step out of his comfort zone once again and do something bold. He packed a bag and decided to move to Whistler, BC. This is where he landed a position in a modern fusion restaurant. Erik was part of the kitchen team elevating the cuisine to unimaginable heights for the next 5 years. Along with his experience in the kitchen, Erik worked all positions within the restaurant. Erik loved his “Mauke Mondays”, bartending for the locals and tourists alike. One of the most memorable experiences in Whistler for him the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Whistler was on the world stage, and so was Erik’s work. He took this opportunity to show the world what he was able to do and they gave him nothing but open arms. Erik was published in a cookbook celebrating the games plus ran a team of 12+ cooks right on the village stroll.

After experiencing the Olympics first hand, it was again to return to his home province of Ontario. Erik landed the honored position of Saucier at the prestigious Cucci, Oakville’s finest, modern fine dining restaurant. Cucci is an elegant venue for modern Italian cuisine, with several notable accolades since opening its doors more than a decade ago. Six short months after joining the team at Cucci, he was promoted, Chef di Cucina. Erik stepped into this role guns blazing, working hard to keep achieve all this new opportunity could bring. Cucci continued to win awards in Oakville, and after only one year, Erik was promoted to Corporate Executive Chef at Catch Hospitality. Under Erik’s leadership and hard work, Catch went on to open five more restaurants, a unique fine food shop, an ice cream outlet and a successful catering division.

Then came Covid-19 Covid-19 caused great havoc for the restaurant industry. One thing it gave to chefs was time. For many, it was the first time they had this mysterious concept confronting them. For some it brought unwelcomed boredom, for others it brought that “light bulb” moment. From that “light bulb”, Janina Soup Company was born.