Confit, crème brûlée, coq au vin. Gnocchi, pierogi, béchamel.
They’re more than just a tableful of fancy foreign foods—they’re what’s for dinner, and breakfast and lunch, when it’s prepared by students enrolled in the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute.
Registration is now under way to launch an exciting culinary career through Pellissippi State Community College, with a new round of courses starting spring semester. The application deadline is Jan. 9, and classes begin Jan. 20.
“Our students learn to cook to the sensory perceptions,” said Tom Gaddis, Culinary Arts program coordinator. “Before you even see fajitas, you hear them sizzling. Before you bite into them, you see the multicolored peppers. Culinary is truly an art.”
Students who pursue a two-year degree in Business/Culinary Arts learn about every aspect of the institutional kitchen: stocks and sauces (“There are five mother, or foundation, sauces,” one of them the creamy béchamel, said Gaddis); moist and dry cooking methods: blanching, braising, poaching, stewing, baking, barbecuing/smoking; equipment, safety; meats, from beef and fowl (coq au vin, confit) to rabbit and venison; seasonal vegetables; desserts (crème brûlée).
“Each instructor has his or her own specialty,” said Gaddis. “One chef is from Pittsburgh, and his specialty is Polish food like pierogi and gnocchi. Another specializes in Mediterranean, and another in Japanese.
“Students are able to pursue careers they genuinely love,” he said, “and Culinary Arts has maintained a very high level of job placement since its inception.”
Culinary Arts launched in 2010, part of a collaborative venture between Pellissippi State and the University of Tennessee. It’s a cohort, meaning students enter and complete the courses together, start to finish. Classes are at the Division Street Campus and in the laboratory kitchens at UT’s Culinary Institute off Neyland Drive.
Graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business with a concentration in Culinary Arts. They’re also certified through the National Restaurant Association in food production and sanitation, and they can apply to the American Culinary Federation to become certified culinarians, the first step toward professional chef certification.