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Tennessee Culinary Schools

Browse Culinary Schools in Tennessee by City

Located in the southeastern U.S., Tennessee is a popular tourist destination, not only for the spectacular Great Smoky Mountains and intriguing Civil War heritage sites, but as a Mecca for music lovers. Country music lovers visit Nashville, home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, while blues and jazz aficionados head to Beale Street in Memphis. Major Tennessee tourist attractions include Elvis Presley's Memphis home, Graceland, and Dolly Parton's theme park, Dollywood.

Tennessee features BBQ, soul food, and southern cuisine

Although Tennessee doesn't call a specific culinary style its own, influences from Europe, Africa, the West Indies, and Native American cultures have blended to influence Tennessee cuisine. Southern Appalachian cuisine is popular in eastern Tennessee, western Tennessee is famous for country ham and red-eye gravy, and, like any other southern state, Tennessee features its own brands of BBQ, soul food and southern cooking.

Pork BBQ is big in Tennessee, where BBQ sauce is most often sweet and tomato-based, although there are some regional variations. Memphis BBQ sports vinegar-based sauces and pulled pork sandwiches are popular throughout the state.

Pork, specifically ham, and less traditional meats such as elk, rabbit, squirrel, frog, and catfish, and more recently, homegrown fresh water prawns as well as okra, yams, corn, black-eyed peas, and ramps (wild leeks) are common staples in today's Tennessee cuisine.

Famous Tennessee restaurants

In 2012, 9,017 restaurants in Tennessee employed 263,400 people according to the National Restaurant Association. The top three metropolitan cities in Tennessee all feature a famous restaurant -- the Arcade Restaurant in Memphis, Litton's in Knoxville, and Monell's in Nashville.

The Arcade Restaurant dates from the early 1900s and has been featured in a number of movies; it was a regular haunt of Elvis' back in the day. Featuring burgers and down home food since 1946, Litton's Market, Restaurant & Bakery has been written up in a number of notable foodie publications. Monell's boasts "great southern food served family style in historic settings." Notable restaurant chains Ruby Tuesday's and Cracker Barrel were also founded in Tennessee.

Culinary schools in TN offer a range of programs

Independent culinary schools in Tennessee's major metropolitan areas and Tennessee community colleges provide a range of programs that include culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and food prep and professional cooking as well as restaurant and hotel management, culinary arts management, and food and beverage management.

Admissions requirements vary by program and can include a high school diploma or GED, work experience in a non-fast food professional kitchen or previous culinary coursework, and a recommendation from a culinary professional. Some programs may also require an essay or personal interview that explores a prospective student's culinary goals.

Culinary coursework is specific to individual programs but generally includes the basics of food preparation, nutrition, safety and sanitation, and menu planning with more focused classes for culinary specializations such as pastry arts or culinary management. The intensity and specificity of culinary coursework also increases as the culinary student pursues a higher degree.

Nothing beats experience in the culinary world, so culinary schools in Tennessee that provide work opportunities such as internships, externships, and student-run restaurants are a good choice. Having professional chefs as instructors, state-of-the-art teaching kitchens, and career planning and placement opportunities may make a difference in the highly competitive culinary world.

Sources and further reading:

Admissions Requirements: Here's What You Need to Attend CIA • http://www.ciachef.edu/admissions/requirements/

Arcade Restaurant • http://www.arcaderestaurant.com/

Culinary School Admissions • http://www.chefs.edu/Admissions

Litton's Market, Restaurant & Bakery • http://www.littonsburgers.com/

Local Favorites • http://www.tnvacation.com/food-wine/diners-dives/local-favorites/

Monell's Restaurant • http://monellstn.com/

Restaurant Industry at a Glance: Tennessee • http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/state/tennessee.pdf

Tennessee Food • http://www.ifood.tv/network/tennessee

Traditional State Foods & Recipes: Tennessee • http://www.foodtimeline.org/statefoods.html#tennessee

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