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Chef Greg Eisele, director of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Culinary and Catering Program, and the Smoky Mountain Chapter of the American Culinary Federation are launching a temporary kitchen staffing service, the Fundamental Cooks Program.

Led by Eisele, the chapter’s chefs have developed an intensive basic training program to teach local temporary staffing agency employees kitchen starter skills to relieve the high temporary staffing demand in the local culinary industry.

“This training will help chefs in the area with increased work-life balance,” Eisele said.

From Gatlinburg to Farragut, there is a staffing shortage for approximately 700-900 shifts, and this program aims to fill these positions with temporary employees who have received basic industry training.

Chefs in East Tennessee have had to compensate for their short staffing by extending their own hours. According to Eisele, the program will help to alleviate pressure on these chefs. The staffing agency Pour Guys will place the program’s participants where they are most needed in the industry.

The training took place at the UT Conference Center in September and focused on areas including knife skills, catering mechanics, hot food production, and commercial equipment usage.


Karen Dunlap (, 865-974-8674)