Tennessee has four community colleges and one university that currently offer programs and courses in the culinary arts and hospitality. Opportunities for internships and specialization are provided. Admission requirements for the 2-year community colleges include standardized test scores or the COMPASS exam.
According to the National Restaurant Association, food protection managers in Tennessee do not need to be certified, and certification exams can be taken on a voluntary basis. Following is information about the five Tennessee schools and the cooking programs they offer. A table compares the schools' tuition rates. The certificate and associate's degree programs offered by these schools include:
- Culinary Arts
- Business Administration and Culinary Arts
- Hospitality Management
- Food Preparation, Safety and Service
- Management with an emphasis in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Nashville State Community College
The main campus of this technical and vocational school is located in Nashville, and the school has five other campuses in the Middle Tennessee area. The culinary arts department includes an assistant professor and a full-time instructor.
Students who pursue the 21-credit certificate can choose between a traditional program or an 'expressway' cohort program which groups students together to move through the whole program in two semesters. A paid internship is required. The curriculum includes courses in food safety and sanitation, baking, cooking and hospitality. In addition to tuition and fees, students are expected to supply their own chef's clothing, knives and tools.
The 2-year degree program requires 61 credits to complete and includes courses in the liberal arts. The core curriculum is identical to that of the certificate program, and students can also take courses in advanced culinary arts, garde manger (cold food) and international cuisine. Both the certificate and the degree programs require a summer internship, and students pursuing the associate's receive a second assignment during their third semester.
Pellissippi State Community College
Pellissippi State Community College is a career transfer and technical school with a main campus in Knoxville and four other locations in East Tennessee. The school offers a unique, cross-disciplinary program in business administration that allows students to specialize in, among other areas, the culinary arts. Currently, the faculty at the Pellissippi Culinary Institute includes four professional chefs and a professor of hospitality and tourism.
The 60-credit degree program is composed of four sequential courses in kitchen skills and includes substantial training in baking, breakfast cooking, garde manger and international cuisine. Students also learn about food and beverage operations, catering and nutrition, and the program culminates in a 3-credit internship.
The Pellissippi Culinary Institute also offers a 12-credit certificate in the culinary arts, and courses in quantity food planning/production and in food and beverage operation are included in the 2-year program in hospitality.
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC) is the largest 2-year school in the Tennessee Board of Regents system; the school's two main campuses are located in Memphis. Through the technical program in food preparation and safety at STCC, students learn how to budget, plan meals and estimate the cost of ingredients. The curriculum also includes training in baking, nutrition and quantity cooking. An additional course in advanced baking is recommended.
The 2-year program in hospitality management and culinary arts requires two courses in food preparation, and aspiring professionals also learn how to carve ice, organize a catered buffet and prepare both hot and cold entrees. According to the current schedule, students in the food and beverage preparation, catering and cooperative education courses have the opportunity to train with the hospitality management coordinator. Although the curriculum includes several courses in business and general education, undergraduates should be aware in advance that the technical courses might not be transferable to a 4-year institution.
University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is not only the flagship of the state's public universities, but is also the largest school in the UT system.
The Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration/Culinary Arts is offered in partnership with Pellissippi State Community College; through the college's Culinary Institute, students can also pursue a 12-week certificate program. Under the guidance of more than 15 chefs and industry leaders, aspiring professionals acquire hands-on cooking and catering experience while learning about careers in the food service business. Individual non-credit cooking courses are offered on a seasonal basis, covering topics ranging from canning to cake decorating to ethnic cuisines. Through a course offered by a professional chef, students can also learn how to use a knife, cook classic pasta dishes and sauté noodles and poultry.
Walters State Community College
At the college's Sevier County Campus in Sevierville, students can pursue certificate and management programs that are accredited by the American Culinary Federation. The culinary school, which is called the Rel Maples Institute for Culinary Arts, has two instructors and two associate professors on the faculty.
The culinary arts technical certificate requires 23 credit hours of coursework and allows for a 3-credit option in baking and pastry or hot foods. The curriculum includes three courses in cooking, and students in the basic culinary class must pass a practical exam in techniques. In addition to a paid externship, aspiring chefs and pastry artists take part in a simulated bakeshop and café. The culinary core for the associate's degree is similar to the one found in the certificate program and includes the opportunity to budget and order supplies, plan menus and prepare baked goods and hot meals for the school bistro.
Culinary arts courses are also part of the 2-year program in hotel and restaurant management for students who choose the restaurant management concentration. Courses focus on basic cooking skills as well as sanitation, culinary math and purchasing.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Culinary Arts Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Nashville State Community College||2-year, public; large city||Culinary Arts Technical Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
|$3,873 in-state; $15,273 out-of-state*|
|Pellissippi State Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||General Certificate in Culinary Arts,
Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration and Culinary Arts
|$3,988 in-state; $15,388 out-of-state*|
|Southwest Tennessee Community College||2-year, public; large city|| Food Preparation, Safety and Service Technical Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management
|$3,963 in-state; $15,363 out-of-state*|
|University of Tennessee||4-year, public; midsize city||Culinary Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts (offered in conjunction with Pellissippi State Community College),
Individual (non-credit) cooking courses
| $12,436 in-state; $30,856 out-of-state;*
$8,500 flat fee for Culinary Institute Certificate Program;
$49-$165 flat rate for individual Culinary Institute courses (2016)**
|Walters State Community College||2-year, public; small city|| Technical Certificate in Culinary Arts,
Associate of Applied Science in Management (Culinary Arts),
Associate of Applied Science in Management (Hotel and Restaurant Management)
|$3,936 in-state; $15,336 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **University of Tennessee Culinary Institute