This spring, UT’s Culinary Institute will offer a variety of hands-on cooking classes. The classes will expand attendees’ palates while cultivating their culinary skills.

All classes have a fee of $50 and will be held at the UT Visitors Center, 2712 Neyland Drive. Checks and credit cards are accepted. To register, contact Terri Geiser at Registration closes one week before each class. Participants must wear hats, closed-toe shoes, and long pants to classes. Hair nets will be provided.

The spring courses include:

Wine 101 Series—Tuesdays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29, 6–8:30 p.m. In this four-class series, participants will broaden their knowledge about major wine-producing regions of the world, learning about grape variety characteristics as well as the most popular types of wines in each country and why those plants grow best there. The class will break down the basics, including how to taste, serve, and store. Country-specific hors d’oeuvres will be served buffet style. Those who attend all four classes will receive the fourth class for half price. Email for your discount.

Bourbon Tasting—Thursday, February 7, 6–8:30 p.m. Tasting bourbon is very different from drinking bourbon. A bourbon-based buffet will be provided to demonstrate the delicious flavors created when cooking with bourbon, including bourbon barbecue sauce over pulled pork; sweet and spicy bourbon baked beans; roasted new potatoes with bourbon maple glazed bacon, deviled eggs dusted with bourbon salt, and bourbon pecan tarts.

Campo Viejo Winery: Award-Winning Wines from Rioja, Spain—Thursday, February 28, 6–8:30 p.m. Experience the best of Rioja wines with Mariya Kovacheva, in-market wine ambassador for Pernod-Ricard USA. She will discuss well-made terroir-driven wines from the Rioja region of Spain. Kovacheva especially delights in tasting wines and helping to develop menu pairing profiles to complement diverse cuisines. In 2012, she became the first (and so far only) woman to be awarded the national title of Top I Somm by the Guild of Sommeliers. Participants will enjoy a meal prepared by Chef Joseph Blauvelt that will includefresh salad with roasted beets, white bean and pork belly stew, chicken thighs with spiced Basque ketchup, flat iron steak with chimichurri, and a delicious Spanish flan.

Creating a Perfect Brunch—Thursday, March 7, 6–8:30 p.m. In this hands-on class, participants will learn how to put together a meal to please everyone. The menu will include crêpes with chicken confit and herbs; roasted grapes with goat cheese and wheat berries; a quinoa bowl with bacon, poached egg, avocado, and buttermilk chive dressing; and a fruit clafoutis. A special breakfast cocktail, beermosa with Cappelletti, will be served.

 Veggie Delight—Thursday, March 21, 6–8:30 p.m. Participants will learn about plant-based cooking and the incredible health benefits of plant-based diets. They will leave knowing how to make a plant-based meal the family will love. On the menu: rosemary white bean dip, spaghetti puttanesca with chickpea mushroom meatballs, and pumpkin ginger blondies

 All About Herbs—Thursday, March 28, 6-8:30 p.m. By special request, UT Culinary designed this unique class as part workshop, part cooking class. In the hands-on cooking session, participants will master the art of enhancing flavors with fresh herbs. An hour-long herb growing party will follow. Participants will learn which varieties of top culinary herbs grow best in our climate, what foods complement certain herbs, and how to harvest and store your fresh herbs for maximum flavor. On the menu: spring herb salad and garlic herb chicken breast. Herb tea and lemon lavender cookies will be provided as well. Everyone attending will receive an herb plant to take home.

The Art of Chocolate Cake—Thursday, April 4, 6–8:30 p.m. Sachertorte, one of the most famous cakes in the world, is an Austrian classic. This impressive chocolate cake is layered with apricot preserves and topped with a gorgeous glossy dark chocolate glaze. In this hands-on class, participants will learn how to bake, assemble, and glaze the torte. Instructor Lina Kinandjarwill demonstrate how to make the cake. Participants will then use prebaked cakes to learn how to slice the cake into layers, make the apricot filling, and prepare the chocolate glaze. Participants will assemble their cakes and decorate them for pictures.

Creative Ways to Use Leftovers—Tuesday, April 23, 6–8:30 p.m. Participants will learn how to use their culinary skills to create delicious creations with leftovers: chicken and dumplings, stuffed sweet bell peppers, and potatoes duchess. Dessert will be served.

About the instructors:

  • Joseph Blauvelt has been in the food industry for 31 years. After graduating with a dual degree in culinary and pastry arts from Sullivan University, he pursued further baking instruction from Gerard’s Bakery in Oxford, London. He is currently an instructor in UT’s Culinary Institute.
  • Holly Jones, manager of the UT Gardens kitchen garden, has a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences. An internship at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in California later earned her a position there. After working at Growing Solutions Restoration Education Institute, she went to Maui to work in an organic food garden for a yoga retreat center and later as the lead gardener at a private estate. She currently oversees the sustainable production, maintenance, and display of perennial fruit, vegetable, herb, and cut flower crops for the UT Gardens Education Program.
  • Rosemarie Cirina earned her culinary degree from Thomas Danby College in Leeds, England, and later completed Italian cooking certifications in Tuscany and Sorrento, Italy. In 2015 she completed UT’s master gardener course. Her culinary experiences are vast and include work at Sur La Table in California and with Art Smith (Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef) and celebrity chef Giada DeLaurentiis.
  • Jeff Ross is Blackberry Farm’s field school manager. With an education in American history and a profound passion for food, he now showcases his talents in cooking and the foodways of Appalachia at Blackberry Farm.
  • Kelly Campbell has more than 20 years of experience in the wine industry, including teaching and sales. During her tenure with B&T Distributing she shared her knowledge, helping vendors appreciate and sell wine. Her travels to major winemaking countries and wineries has broadened her knowledge and passion for wine.
  • Jason Drotar is head sommelier at Blackberry Farm. After completing a second bachelor’s degree in restaurant management at the University of Central Florida, he interned Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
  • Lee Payette is vice president and director of wine for Beverage Control Inc. He has 30 years of wine industry experience and has traveled for education to South Africa, France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and Italy. Through extensive training in the Bordeaux region of France, he received the coveted Bordeaux Ambassador title. He has served as a wine judge in Tennessee for 13 years and has judged competitions in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, California, and Nevada.
  • Lina Kinandjar, a graduate of the UT Culinary Institute and the National Hotel Institute in Indonesia, works at Citico’s WindRiver in Lenoir City. She has a special interest in food preparation, and her creativity and eye for color and appeal are exceptional. She gained experience while employed at the Hilton Gatwick Airport in England and Hotel Engematthof in Zurich.