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This summer, UT’s Culinary Institute will offer a variety of hands-on cooking classes. Professional chefs will lead courses for all skill levels. Attendees will learn recipes from around the world and cultivate culinary skills while expanding their palate.

All classes have a fee of $50 and will be held at the UT Visitors Center, 2712 Neyland Drive. Checks and credit cards are accepted. To register, contact Terri Geiser at Registration closes one week before each class. Class participants must wear hats, hair nets will be provided, closed-toe shoes and long pants to classes.

The following courses will be offered:

The Art of Food: Presentation and Flavors, Saturday June 9, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Presentation is an important part of the dining experience—as the saying goes, we eat first with our eyes. In this hands-on class, you will learn the art of garnishing and plating food. You will learn how to properly place food on the plate, how to add height, create color, and use garnishes to add eye appeal. We’ll begin with smoked salmon and cilantro cream cheese canapés. For dinner you will prepare, plate, serve, and enjoy stuffed pork tenderloin, haricots verts with red peppers wrapped in bacon, and rice pilaf with apricots and walnuts. Dessert will be prepared in advance, but you will add the final garnishes before enjoying.

Around-the-World Tour of Sparkling Wines, Friday, June 22, 6–8:30 p.m. From elegant to vibrant, you will learn about the different processes used for making a sparkling wine, what varietals are involved, and the role that terroir plays in making a sparkling wine. Join us for a four-course meal with pairings including crab-stuffed shrimp with roasted sweet mini peppers and tomatoes, spinach salad with strawberries and pecan-encrusted goat cheese, chicken Washington roll stuffed with cheese and herbs in a creamy mushroom sauce with angel hair pasta, haricots verts with brown butter, and chocolate ganache with raspberry drizzle over pound cake. Not a hands-on class.

Rise and Shine Quick Breads, Tuesday, July 10, 6–8:30 p.m. In this hands-on class, you will learn about different leavening agents and how to use different ingredients to make delicious quick breads. The menu will include chocolate zucchini bread, chocolate cherry scones, and mixed berry muffins. Join us and perfect your baking skills. A special treat: gingerbread coffee and cream.

Culinary Herbs, Thursday, July 19, 6–8:30 p.m. By adding just a few fresh herbs, you can create something divine. In this hands-on class you will master the art of seasoning with fresh herbs, offering a healthy and delicious way to spice up meals. You’ll learn which herbs grow best in our climate, which herbs complement certain foods, and how to harvest and store fresh herbs for maximum flavor. On the menu: cucumber pineapple dill bites; asparagus and herb goat cheese crepes with roasted ribbons of butternut squash; spiral zucchini pasta with artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes with an herb vinaigrette; vegan chocolate mint mousse made of avocado, coconut cream, and peppermint, garnished with chocolate mint; fresh mint tea with stevia on the side. Everyoneattending will receive an herb plant to take home.

Special Opportunity Slice and Dice, Monday August 6, 6–8:30 p.m. Knife skills are the foundation of all cooking. Become faster and more accurate with your knife work and create dishes that cook evenly and look truly professional. In this hands-on class, you will learn proper hand placement and the fundamental cuts—dice, mince, brunoise, batonnet, and julienne—on a range of fruits and vegetables. You’ll also learn how to section an orange, chop herbs without bruising them or losing flavor, and cut an onion without tears. And for the grand finale, you’ll learn how to break down a whole chicken, including how to filet and create pockets in the chicken breast for stuffing. Snacks will be provided during class.Those attending will have the opportunity to purchase a professional chef’s knife from Mercer Cutlery for $10.25—75 percent off the retail value. You must order in advance by paying upon registration.

Kenwood Vineyards: A Taste of Sonoma, Thursday, August 23, 6–8:30 p.m. Join us as we explore the world of wine: regions, varietals, tasting, and food pairing. Mariya Kovacheva, in-market wine ambassador for Pernod-Ricard USA, will be leading a food and wine adventure, discussing well-made terroir-driven wines from up-and-coming areas. She especially delights in tasting wines and helping to develop menu pairing profiles to complement diverse cuisines. Kovacheva has a diploma from the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust and is a candidate for the prestigious Master Sommelier title from the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2012, she became the first (and so far the only) woman to be awarded the national title of Top I Somm from the Guild of Sommeliers. It’s a great opportunity to learn about wine and food while enjoying every sip and bite of these pairings:

  • Kenwood Vineyards sauvignon blanc with goat cheese and honeydew melon canapés
  • Kenwood Vineyards chardonnay and Six Ridges Kenwood chardonnay with almond-encrusted pan-seared sea bass and coconut and lime rice pilaf
  • Kenwood Vineyards merlot and Six Ridges Kenwood pinot noir with pork loin stuffed with mushroom Duxelles, herbs, and onions, with haricots verts on the side
  • Six Ridges Kenwood cabernet sauvignon and Kenwood Jackson London Reserve cabernet sauvignon with beef tips in red wine sauce served over puff pastries with mashed potatoes
  • Kenwood Jackson London Reserve zinfandel with dark chocolate crepes, fresh seasonal berries, and toasted hazelnuts

Nota hands-on class.

About the instructors:

  • Lina Kinandjar, a graduate of the UT Culinary Institute and the National Hotel Institute in Indonesia, works at Citico’s WindRiver in Lenoir City. She has a special interest in food preparation, and her creativity and eye for color and appeal are exceptional. She gained experience while employed at the Hilton Gatwick Airport in England and Hotel Engematthof in Zurich.
  • Kelly Campbell has more than 20 years of experience in the wine industry, including teaching and sales.
  • Amanda Kohler is a baking and pastry graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She has worked at a variety of establishments on the East Coast, including Blackberry Farm, Perfect Wedding Cake, and the American Club Resort.
  • Joseph Blauvelt has been in the food industry for 31 years. After graduating with a dual degree in culinary and pastry arts from Sullivan University, he pursued further baking instruction from Gerard’s Bakery in Oxford, London. He is currently an instructor in UT’s Culinary Institute.
  • Rosemarie Cirina earned her culinary degree from Thomas Danby College in Leeds, England, and later completed Italian cooking certifications in Tuscany and Sorrento, Italy. In 2015 she completed UT’s Master Gardener course. Her culinary experiences are vast and include work at Sur La Table in California and with Art Smith (Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef) and Giada DeLaurentiis.
  • Holly Jones, manager of the UT Gardens kitchen garden, has a BS in plant sciences. Her internship at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens in California later earned her a position there. After working at Growing Solutions Restoration Education Institute, she went to Maui to work in an organic food garden for a yoga retreat center and later as the lead gardener at a private estate. She currently oversees the sustainable production, maintenance, and display of perennial fruit, vegetable, herb, and cut flower crops for the UT Gardens Education Program.


Terri Geiser (865-524-4963,

Lindsey Owen (865-974-8046,