Seven Outstanding Chefs Graduate from Spring Culinary & Catering Course

In April, seven outstanding chefs graduated from our spring culinary and catering certification course. We would like to celebrate them and wish them well on their future endeavors.

Seven Outstanding Chefs Graduate from Spring Culinary & Catering Course
From Left to Right: Gabrielle Fulkerson, Travis Monday, Brandon Smith, Jerry Lively, Adam Lopez, John Johnson, Tom Carella

During their 12 weeks with us, these students learned the fundamentals of cooking and kitchen management from some of the best chefs and food business owners in America. While much of the hands-on training takes place in our corporate kitchen, our students bring classroom lessons to life by hosting live catering events, many of which are open to the public.

UT Culinary & Catering Student Prepares Lunch Event
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Myers Photography

This spring, we started a new 4-part luncheon series entitled, “Laurel’s Echo.” Our students were responsible for planning the menu and executing it to perfection. Meet our student executive chefs and take at what was served.

In addition to our Laurel’s Echo luncheons, our students also participated in several charity events, one of which took place at Second Harvest Food Bank to show appreciation for its supporters and first responders in Blount County.

Former graduate, Tara Garland, now works at the Nashville Omni Hotel. She shared some advice with our spring graduates about to start new careers and those now enrolling in the program:

Tara Garland UT Culinary & Catering Grad

“The best part of the program is what’s most unique about it, which is training in different classroom settings and serving a wide range of events. Whether it’s buffet, à la carte, or a plated dinner, find what culinary style brings you the most joy. Your passion may not necessarily make you the most money, but you can’t buy happiness either.”

Continue reading Tara’s insider’s perspective on our 12-week culinary & catering program and whether or not the extra ACF certification is really worth your time.

Do You Love to Cook? Are You Ready for a Change of Pace?

We offer several free information sessions throughout the year to give you an opportunity to explore our corporate kitchen “classroom”, meet Chef Greg, and learn more about our 12-week certificate program. To register, contact Pam Quick at 865-974-3181 or You can also register online.