Business and Computer Technology
Culinary student stiring
Male chef plating food

Faculty and Staff

Amy Caponetti

Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee
Master’s Degree in Human Resources: Training and Development from the University of Tennessee
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Maryville College                                                                              
Associate of Arts degree from Pellissippi State Technical Community College

Dr. Caponetti has worked with the PSCC Culinary Arts Program since Fall 2018. She has worked hard to make connections with the students, faculty and local culinary opportunities. Her main focus has been on updating the program to increase efficiency, connect with local high schools and benefit of the students. Dr. Caponetti is also a tenured Assistant Professor of Management at PSCC and has been at PSCC since 2013. Prior to that she worked in Human Resources at the University of Tennessee AgResearch for 5 years and for the Department of Children’s Services for over 10 years prior to UT. This experience coupled with her education has given her a unique ability to work with the students of PSCC and to be able to strengthen the Culinary program.          

Holly Knowling

Master's degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management from Texas Tech University
Bachelor's degree in Management from the University of Texas of the Permian Basis

Knowling is a full-time faculty member in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality program at Pellissippi State Community College. Knowling graduated from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in 1988. She then went on to work in the hospitality industry in Palm Springs, Calif.; Newport Beach, Calif.; San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; Salt Lake City, Utah; Dallas, Texas, and the Caribbean. Her extensive experience makes her a great addition to the staff. Knowling teaches HSP 1420 Nutrition and HSP 2250 Catering. In the Catering course, Knowling utilizes Service-Learning to teach students how to plan, prepare, execute and serve multiple events.  This is not only a great opportunity to help community organization, but also gives hands-on learning experience to students.

Chef Amanda Kohler

Chef Amanda Kohler has been working in the food service/ hospitality industry for the last 12 years. She received her Associates in Baking and Pastry Arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and later went on to get a degree in Business Management from Pellissippi State Community College. She specializes in decorating cakes, artisan breads and dessert recipe development. She has excelled at a variety of different establishments within the industry including The American Club Resort in Wisconsin, Perfect Wedding Cakes in Atlanta, and most recently as the baker at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.


Chef Joseph Blauvelt

Chef Joseph Blauvelt was born and raised in Missouri. In 1995, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky to attend Culinary School at Sullivan University. He graduated with honors with degrees in both Culinary and Pastry Arts. While attending Sullivan’s, he met his future wife. Upon graduation, he traveled through Europe while working for Gerard’s bakery in Oberkorn Luxembourg. He followed that position with a stint at the Cannes Film Festival at the American Pavilion. Upon his return from Europe, he became an instructor for his alma mater, teaching baking and managing the school owned bakery retail facility. After 2 years he was hired to be the executive chef for Breeze’s Restaurant. Chef Blauvelt remained there until the corporate opportunity to work with Custom Foods brought him to Knoxville where he stayed for 13 years. Most recently, Chef Blauvelt started as a culinary instructor at Pellissippi State’s partner, the Culinary Institute at the University of Tennessee. Chef Joseph is a proud father of two incredible picky eaters and is renowned for his use of organic foods which he grows in his large fruit and vegetable garden.


Chef Tyler White

Master’s degree from The University of Tennessee in Retail Hospitality and Tourism
Bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University in Hospitality Management 

White has had over 15 years in the restaurant industry as a sous chef working in private clubs, resorts, full-service hotels, and casual dining restaurants in North Carolina and Knoxville. He has worked with celebrity chefs Tracy Griffith and Darren McGrady, and has cooked for Anthony Bourdain, Paula Deen, and ZZ Top. While working in Knoxville he has prepared meals for groups of over 5,000, as well as preparing food for university presidents and provosts. White has worked for UT Culinary Institute since 2010 and currently teaches for Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts Program at the University of Tennessee.


Dr. Ann Fairhurst
Ph.D. in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising from Oklahoma State University
Master’s degree in Home Economics from Indiana State University
Bachelor’s degree in Clothing and Textiles from Purdue University

Fairhurst is the department head of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management at UT, where the Pellissippi State Culinary Institute is housed.


Dr. Tom Gaddis
Ph.D. in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee
Master’s degree in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee
Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee

Gaddis established the Hospitality program at Pellissippi State in 1996. The program has visualized much success and boasts a 14-year tradition of 100% placement. Gaddis has decades of restaurant development and management to his credit. Of note, he started with Cracker Barrel in its infancy and had a long-term stint with New York’s Horn and Hardart Corporation. During graduate school, Dr. Gaddis gained expertise in college and university food service as well as high-level catered events, including presidential dinners and skybox extravaganzas. Gaddis received the 2012 Idahlyn Karre national award for exemplary leadership from the Chair Academy and was named Hospitality Educator of the Year in 2008, by the Tennessee Hospitality Association.