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Students enrolled in UT’s Culinary and Catering program are presenting a public luncheon series where they will hone their skills in a restaurant setting. The series is dubbed Laurel’s Echo because it is being held in UT Conference Center—the site of the old Rich’s department store, which featured the Laurel Tea Room.

The luncheons vary in style—à la carte (ordered from a menu), family style, buffet, and tableside. All include appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts, and beverages. All luncheons are open to the public and cost $11. Online registration is required five days before the luncheon.

Here are the spring and summer luncheon details:

  • March 17 (à la carte)—Sage-brined Berkshire pork loin and potato croquettes, or herb-stuffed chicken and Sweetwater white cheddar grits
  • March 24 (tableside)—House-made smoked seafood pasta, or flank steak Dijonnaise
  • July 14 (buffet style)—Grilled teriyaki salmon, or herb-stuffed pork loin with green peppercorn sauce
  • August 4 (family-style)—New York strip steak, with béarnaise, or ricotta- and spinach-stuffed chicken breast
  • August 18 (à la carte)—Classic bouillabaisse (seafood stew), or breast of chicken cacciatore with roasted garlic herb demi-glace

About a dozen students are enrolled in each 12-week, 400-hour course, which prepares participants to work in restaurants, hotels, catering, and sales. During each session, a menu competition is held and three winning menu lineups are chosen. The students responsible for devising the winning menus serve as head chefs for the luncheons.

The UT Culinary and Catering program is designated an American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) Quality Program. For more information, visit the program website or call UT Conferences and Non-Credit Programs at 865-974-3181.


Amy Blakely (, 865-974-5034)