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KNOXVILLE — Longtime restaurateur William (Bill) F. Regas will be honored as a “Legend of the Industry” on March 26 at the ninth annual Appalachian Spring gourmet dinner and auction being hosted by the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management (RHTM) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Tickets are now available for the event which begins at 6 p.m. and will be held in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The evening will include a wine-and-beer reception, passed appetizers, a silent auction and a four-course banquet with wine pairings.

The deadline for donations to the silent auction is March 1, and the deadline to purchase tickets is March 12.

The “Legends of the Industry” event will be entirely student-led, with hospitality students managing the program and designing the menu with the help of several distinguished local chefs. Retail students will manage the silent auction, and money generated from the event is used for student scholarships, industry trips and internship support. In addition, some of the proceeds will be donated to Regas’ charity of choice — breast cancer awareness.

“This is going to be a great event for the community, for UT and, especially for the many people who have loved eating at Regas over the years,” said Carol Costello, RHTM professor and director of the UT Culinary Institute’s Wine and Beer Education Program. “Bill has done so much for our community; this is a fitting way to say ‘thank you’ to him and to help students who will be tomorrow’s leaders in the field.”

During his 65-year restaurant career, Regas has been a mentor, icon and friend to the food service industry and the Knoxville community. Regas Restaurant, which closed at the end of 2010, was the longest-running restaurant in Tennessee. Bill Regas also has been instrumental in the early development of several other noted local restaurateurs, including Randy Burleson (Aubrey’s, Bistro by the Tracks, Sunspot), Mike Connors (Chop House, Connors), Rick Fredrico (P.F. Chang’s), Steve Puleo (Puleo’s Grille) and Grady Regas (Grady’s Goodtimes).

To purchase tickets, which range from $150 for a single ticket to $1,000 for a table of eight, contact Costello at or 865-974-6241.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,