Competition heats up the Convention Center kitchen

0 Comments 📅August 28th, 2013, 13:33

The Knoxville Convention Center kitchen heated up Monday, Aug. 19, when students challenged professional chefs to a cooking competition at the Smoky Mountain Chapter of the American Culinary Federation’s regular meeting. Students from the University of Tennessee Culinary Arts Program, Walters State Community College and Pellissippi State Community College participated.

An enthusiastic crowd encouraged the three pros and six students to create several beautifully crafted original dishes. After 25 minutes of focused food preparation, the competition came to an end and professional chef Dave Colburn’s creation, the “Tennessee Oscar,” claimed first place. The dish was comprised of grits, greens, crawfish and other Southern-inspired ingredients. While a professional chef took home the bragging rights, the culinary students also took away valuable experience.

Knoxville Convention Center Head Chef Chris Moore

Knoxville Convention Center Head Chef Chris Moore

Our relationship with the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation has grown in recent years due to the ongoing partnership between the Knoxville Convention Center, the UT Culinary Arts Program and the UT Conference Center.

Convention Center Executive Chef Chris Moore just joined the board of ACF, which is the largest national professional chef’s association in the country. ACF seeks to provide professional opportunities and combine resources of community chefs and hospitality professionals to train and educate. “As we move forward, we will look for opportunities to combine our experience and serve the local community in ways we have only begun to explore,” said Chef Moore. “It’s a win-win in our estimation.”

ACF, UT Conference Center and the Knoxville Convention Center all invest in the next generation of hospitality professionals by supporting the UT Culinary Arts Program, a 12-week certification course that prepares students for entry-level positions in restaurants, hotels, catering and sales. During the course, students learn from more than 15 educators, chefs, caterers, beverage experts, restaurant owners, scientists and managers. For several years, Chef Moore and I have offered our experience as professional advisors to this extension program.

Culinary students have the opportunity to tour the Convention Center’s state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and learn about the skills needed to serve hundreds of guests. Chef Moore’s background as a restaurant owner as well as his experience as a special events chef provides a wide range of knowledge to the culinary students.

We are very appreciative of all of our local partners, like ACF, the UT Conference Center and the UT Culinary Arts Program. Through events and educational programs like the ACF competition, we can invest in our future culinary leaders and further energize Knoxville’s hospitality industry.

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