Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

UT Culinary Institute

Photo of pot, spices, and kitchen utensils


Community Cooking Courses

2018 Spring Schedule

*Registration closes 1 week prior to each class.

To be added to the waitlist, contact Terri at

                                                                     click her to register for classes online



Chinese Indian Fusion. Thursday, January 25, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Growing up in Bombay, my absolute favorite was Indian-Chinese fusion food sold by street vendors. The Indian-Chinese fusion started in the late 19th century when a small Chinese community from the Hakka region settled in Kolkata (Calcutta) in India.  If you love Chinese and Indian food, then you have found “Nirvana” with this hands on class on how to cook some of the Indian-Chinese fusion favorites.  The flavors of Indian spices blended with Chinese seasonings tantalizes taste buds.  In this class you will learn how to prepare the famous Chilly Chicken, Gobi (Veg) Manchurian, and Manchow Soup. You will enjoy this with Veg Hakka Noodles and end this heavenly meal with a mango cheese cake dessert. Instructor: Chef Florence Graves

All Aboard for Shellfish Lovers, Tues., January 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Afraid of cooking seafood? Fear no more. In this hands on class you will be amazed at how quick and easy you can put together an amazing dinner. You will learn how to cook shrimp in a matter of minutes, how to prepare and sear scallops and how to select and use crab. The recipes will include: Shrimp and Tomato Basil Bisque with a Basil Drizzle,, Coquilles St.-Jacques, seared sea scallops topped with savory mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, and a breadcrumb mixture, and Moroccan Spiced Crab Cakes with Cilantro Orange Dressing. Instructor: Chef Terri Geiser


Exploring Food and Wines; a Pairing Adventure, Thursday, February 15, 6:00 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
Join Jason Drotar, head sommelier at a prominent award winning restaurant in East Tennessee, on a food and wine adventure. He will discuss flavor profiles that you can experiment with to develop a great food and wine pairing. He will show you how to match food and wine like a professional chef or sommelier. The menu will include an appetizer, a small plate, a main dish and dessert with cheeses each paired with an appropriate wine. Note: This is not a hands on class. Wine Instruction: Sommelier Jason Drotar.

Lost Restaurants of Knoxville, Thursday, February 22, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Cost: $55.00
If you remember some of Knoxville’s greatest restaurants and miss those delicious meals you will love this class. Paula Johnson, local historian and author of Lost Restaurants of Knoxville will share some nostalgic culinary moments including stories from favorite restaurants in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Terri Geiser will walk you through bringing those popular dishes back to life. In this hands on class you will make from The Orangery- Oyster-Artichoke Ramekins topped with cream, sherry, and Parmesan cheese; The Sunsphere Restaurant- Cornish game hen Black Forest Style with wild rice and spices, and Grady’s Chocolate Bar Cake – that really became iconic here. You’ll also sample a long time favorite, Regas’s Strawberry Shortcake. Note: Shrimp available upon request for oyster substitution. Every participant will receive a copy of Paula’s book! Guest Speaker: Paula Johnson and Grady Regas; Instructor: Chef Terri Geiser

Simply Southern, Tuesday March 6, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Class participants will learn how to prepare a good ole southern meal in this hands on class. The chef will introduce you to a variety of uniquely Southern cooking techniques—from braising and frying to creating creamy grits and cooking shrimp to perfection. You will learn how to develop layers of flavor for three traditional favorites, Butter Bean and Ham Hock Soup, Georgia White Shrimp and Grits and Fried Apple Hand Pies. Instructor: Chef Donna Parang.

Stocks and Sauces, Thursday March 29, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
In this hands on class, you will learn how to make rich, flavorful stocks and turn them into amazing sauces for meats and vegetables. The pre-prepared stocks will be used for you to make a veloute sauce to be served over a stuffed chicken breast and a espagnole, typically made from brown stock, mirepoix, and tomatoes, and thickened with roux used to make beef stroganoff and a vegetable stock that you will turn into a delicious tomato sauce for serving over roasted vegetables. BONAS: You will learn some chef worthy knife skills for prepping vegetables. Instructor: Chef Joseph Blauvelt

Favorites from Blackberry Farms, Thursday April 19, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
In this hands on class you will learn how to find delicious greens right in your own back yard. Jeff will show you a few favorites he uses in the Foraged and Found Spring Salad with Roasted Grapes dressed with an amazing vinaigrette. He’ll also show you how to make your own Peameal Bacon. Making your own is so much better than store bought because it has much more flavour, and you know exactly what is going into it. It’s also a simple process with a simple recipe that anyone can do starting with a pork loin and this will be accompanied with a delicious Spring Pea and Mint Puree. For dessert a favorite, Buttermilk Slab Pie. Instructor: Chef Jeff Ross.


The Culinary Institute at the University of Tennessee is partnering with the Fresh Market!

Photo of The Fresh Market logo

Guest Chefs/Instructors

Joseph Blauvelt , instructor, UT Culinary School is originally from Columbia Missouri. He has been in the food industry for 31 years. Joseph graduated with a dual degree in Culinary and Pastry Arts from Sullivan University in Louisville Kentucky, continuing on to work the Cannes Film Festival and pursuing baking instruction from Gerard’s Bakery in Oberkorn Luxembourg. After returning to the states, Joseph took the manager position for Sullivan University’s school bakery where he also became a Basic Baking instructor. He has a passion for healthy, easy, natural cooking.

Jason Drotar, Head Sommelier at an award winning restaurant in East Tennessee found his way into Hospitality while in a Master’s degree program at Florida State University.  As a college student he needed a job so he worked his way to bartender and found he really enjoyed the mixology adventure. While in Tallahassee he built a beverage program and fueled his curiosity of the beverage world at Mama’s Restaurant. After completing a second Bachelor’s degree in Restaurant Management at the University of Central Florida he was selected for an internship at Caesar’s and made a detour to work in Las Vegas where he extended his beverage and restaurant knowledge at several quality establishments.   He oversees the training of the Sommelier Team and Wait staff. Along with his Sommelier duties, he conducts private wine tastings for the guests. 

 Terri Geiser is a culinary enthusiast, caterer and cooking instructor who appears regularly on WBIR.  She loves entertaining and has a special interest in food and wine pairing. While staying in South Africa she learned about different foods, herbs, spices and cooking methods. She also has training in French, Italian and other ethnic cuisine. She has been teaching cooking classes for over 20 years for the Glass Bazaar and previously for William Sonoma. She is currently the assistant director of the Culinary Institute Non-Credit Program at the University of Tennessee where she also teaches. She offers Gourmet House Parties and private cooking classes for children, families or for special events. Check out Terri’s food blog at

Florence Graves, is a graduate of UT Culinary Institute’s Professional Culinary Program. She grew up in Mumbai, India and later moved to Dubai where she owned a family focused multi-cuisine restaurant. winning several cooking competitions.. A move to Knoxville afforded her the opportunity to experience US Chain restaurant operations while spending 5 months as the sous-chef for the Bonefish Grill in Knoxville. She also ran a small business catering Indian food for the local community.  Florence has a passion for cultural traditions and continues to cook everything from scratch on a daily basis.

Donna Parang is a graduate of UT’s Culinary Institute and the former owner of Bella Luna Restaurant on Market Square. As a chef and culinary instructor, she regularly appears on WBIR, teaches cooking classes and is an occasional caterer. Her specialties include Italian, Persian, and healthful farm to table cuisines. She is also available for kitchen consultation – setting up, use of equipment, and menu planning.

Jeff Ross, Blackberry Farm’s Field School Manager.  With an education in American history and a profound passion for food, he has found at Blackberry Farm, a place to showcase his talents In cooking and the food-ways of Appalachia.

For more information or to register:

Contact Terri Geiser
Types of Payments Accepted:
Checks (to UT) and Credit Cards (Discover, Mastercard, VISA)
Fee for all Classes: $50.00 unless stated otherwise

Click here to register for classes online.
Location for all Courses:
UT Visitor Center
2712 Neyland Drive, Knoxville TN 37916


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