UT Culinary & Catering Students Impress Knoxville with 4 Amazing Luncheons

The University of Tennessee Conference Center is housed in the former Rich’s department store that once featured the Laurel Tea Room on the top floor. Students in the Culinary & Catering Program now serve guests in the former tea room and were inspired by their historic surroundings to create a luncheon series that would honor the past and display the array of skills they’ve learned so far. These luncheons became part of a series called “Laurel’s Echo.”

Student Chef Tom CarellaFamily-Style Luncheon

Executive Student Chef: Tom Carella

On Friday, March 3, students in the UT Culinary & Catering Program hosted the “Family-Style Luncheon,” the first luncheon of the three-part series. With more than 70 guests in attendance and the dining room full of excitement, our students served a French-themed four-course lunch that included an Ahi tuna starter, chicken and steak entrées, vegetable and potato sides, and a rich chocolate dessert.

Check out the event for yourself!

À La Carte Luncheon (“Your Choice”)

Executive Student Chef: Travis Monday

Laurel's Echo A La Carte Luncheon

On Friday, March 17, our students fed another 65 guests in a Spanish-style luncheon served à la carte. Menu items included sage brined berkshire pork loin and potato croquettes or herb stuffed chicken and sweetwater white cheddar grits.

Tableside Luncheon

Executive Student Chef: Brandon Smith


UT Culinary & Catering Laurel's Echo Luncheon Tableside DisplayOn Friday, March 24, we wrapped up our Laurel’s Echo spring luncheon series by serving 65 guests a smoked themed menu of housemade smoked seafood pasta and flanked dijonnaise.

Food Truck Service with Gonzo Gourmet

Executive Student Chef: John Johnson

Two days before the Tableside Luncheon, UT Culinary & Catering graduate Brandon Wilson, owner of the Gonzo Gourmet food truck, came alongside our students as they cooked classic street food and served over 225 people. 
UT Culinary & Catering Students Cook with Gonzo Gourmet

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts or food business management, find out how our 12-week hands-on culinary program can set the foundation for your future in food. Sign up for a free information session online or contact Pam Quick at 865-974-3181 or quickp@utk.edu.