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KNOXVILLE — Aspiring chefs exploring a career in food preparation, professional cooks wanting to hone their skills and anyone serious about cooking are invited to enroll in the new Culinary Institute at the University of Tennessee.

The institute is a 10-month intensive certificate program offered by the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Topics include safety and sanitation, the art of tasting, knife skills and even ice sculpting.

Students who complete the program will receive a credentialing Certificate in Culinary Arts and the Servsafe Foodservice Sanitation certification, which is valid for five years.

The only prerequisite for students is a high school diploma.

Enrollment is open for classes starting Oct. 16. The maximum number of students taken is 25. A second program will begin Nov. 19.

The founding director of the Culinary Institute is John Antun, assistant professor of hotel, restaurant and tourism management, who started a similar program at the University of South Carolina.

Antun, a certified executive chef with a doctorate in higher education administration, has spent more than 40 years in the hospitality industry and opened and operated four successful restaurants in the New York metropolitan area. He and other local chefs are the instructors.

“A career in the culinary arts offers you the opportunity to be an important part of America’s fastest-growing industry — hospitality. The Culinary Institute will give students enough knowledge and practice to become a chef after they begin work in the food service industry,” he said.

Antun said the Culinary Institute helps fulfill the outreach mission of the university by providing an environment and resources for citizens to have a quality culinary arts education, which can help them find jobs. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has reported the food service industry will require 20 percent more cooks and chefs through 2012.

The Culinary Institute’s program is divided into 10 segments of four weeks each with instruction in:

• safety and sanitation
• flavor recognition
• knife skills
• stocks and soups
• sauces
• cooking techniques for vegetables
• cooking techniques for beef, poultry and fish
• garde manger, or the cold kitchen, with salad preparation, sandwiches and presentation techniques, garnishes and ice carving
• breakfast cookery
• bread making
• baking of pastries, cakes and other desserts

The program beginning Oct. 16 meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The program beginning Nov. 19 meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Classes are taught in an instructional kitchen at the University Center.

Students eat and can take home food they cook in the classes. They will be required to purchase kitchen uniforms, a textbook and knife set. Tuition is $450 for each month of instruction, or $4,500 for the full program.

To enroll, contact Antun at (865) 974-3732. For more information, download the Culinary Institute’s brochure at


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,

John Antun, (865) 974-3732,