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KNOXVILLE — Are you hungry for international cuisine, but not able to hop on a plane to an exotic locale for lunch?

The Ready for the World Café — which opens today for a 10-week stretch — is just the ticket!

The café is an international buffet operated by students in the advanced food production and service management class, Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism (HRT) 445, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The café, which will be in operation through April 21, will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Monday through Thursday in the Hermitage Room on the third floor of the University Center.

Diners pay $11 for the all-you-can-eat buffet or $9 for a plate of food to carry out. Aramark’s faculty/staff discount card can be used at the café.

Note that, this week, the café will be closed on Wednesday, Feb. 9, so students can attend the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management fair.

The first week’s menu includes dishes from France, Spain and the Middle East. It features grilled vegetarian paella with a basil-tomato slaw, kifta (Middle Eastern meatloaf), curried coconut chicken, snappy halibut skillet, Lyonnaise potatoes, roasted asparagus and mushrooms and strawberry bleu cheese salad. The buffet also will feature a carving station and assorted desserts.

This semester, there are 12 students in HRT 445. In small groups, they will take turns planning the menus, marketing the café and working in the café. ARAMARK, UT’s provider of dining services, prepares the food.

The student restaurateurs are:

  • Scott Bennett, of Nashville, is a senior in HRT. He has worked in the restaurant industry since the age of 16 and for the past 2 ½ years has worked at McAlister’s Deli on the strip. His goal is to own and run a sports bar.
  • Stuart Chandler, of Knoxville, is a senior in history with an HRT minor, born in Nashville. He wants to manage hotels or restaurants someday.
  • Meagan Cupp, of Knoxville, is a senior in HRT. She has worked as a host and server at Calhoun’s. Her career aspirations include being part of an event-coordinating team or catering service and eventually becoming “an educator of some sort, focusing on traveling and exploring the world with children and families.”
  • Nicholas (Nick) Goodman, of Hermitage, is a junior majoring in business and minoring in food service. “I learned how to cook by spending time in the kitchen with my mom. I give her credit for not only sparking my interest, but also everything I have learned up until now with cooking.” His goal is to one day open his own restaurant in Nashville.
  • Kristen Hallom, of Memphis, is a junior in HRT with a minor in business. She wants to be an event planner.
  • Kori Higgins, who was born in Knoxville but has lived most of her life in Oak Ridge, is a fifth-year senior in nutrition with a minor in food service systems management. She is an avid cook and plans to become a registered dietitian. She hopes to one day incorporate cooking into her dietitian practice.
  • Angelica Manning, of Memphis, is a senior in HRT. She has worked for Walt Disney World, Aramark and Westhampton Country Club. Her career aspirations include starting her own hospitality, consultant and conference or convention planning company – as well as being elected governor or being appointed as a U.S. ambassador or diplomat.
  • Ben Nadeau, of Vienna, Va., is a senior in HRT with a minor in business. His concentration is in lodging and this past summer, he completed an internship at Wintergreen Resort, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia. He hopes to one day run a hotel or resort as a general manager.
  • Jacob Storey, of Titusville, Fla., is a senior in HRT. He has worked with the hospitality team at Thompson-Boling Arena and on the UT football team. He hopes to go to culinary school to become a chef and own a restaurant.
  • Wes Surber, of Bristol, is a senior in HRT. He is a front desk clerk at the Hilton Garden Inn in Knoxville and previously worked at the Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville. He would someday like to start his own business, possibly one that is tourism-related. “I like to be creative, so I think destination marketing also would be a good fit.”
  • Stephen Taylor, of Portland, Tenn., is a senior in HRT. He has worked at Chick-fil-A, Olive Garden and Homewood Suites by Hilton. More recently, he has interviewed for the Management Development Program with Marriott International.

Two other students — Ashley Martin and Kyle Orabone – are in the class, but no biographical information was available about them.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely, (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)