Kemmons Wilson Culinary Institute added to the University of Memphis’ hospitality program

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – The ribbon was cut outside the new University of Memphis Kemmons Wilson Culinary Institute and Ernie Mellor, President of the Memphis Restaurant Association, was one of the first through the door.

“Total game changer,” said Mellor. “This is totally a game changer, not only for the University, but for the community and the entire hospitality industry.”

Inside guests celebrated with a smorgasbord of delicious delights. The shrimp was banged, coconut, even swimming in grits drizzled in a blackberry puree. Pork came falling from the rib bone or belly slid between a biscuit bun. For the sweet tooth, crème brulee and strawberry shortcake balls.

A few examples of what might come out of the bachelor of arts, certificate or recreational learning classes associated with UofM’s program tied to their hospitality discipline.

The Kemmons Culinary Institute is housed in the former L’Ecole Culinaire space, which went bankrupt about a year ago and not because of poor enrollment, but because the national parent company had issues.

U of M President, David Rudd says building upon their hospitality program in this building was one of the university’s best investments.

“There’s a demand for this in Memphis,” said Rudd. “We’re going to help meet that demand.”

A buffet of partnerships with local schools and restaurants gives students, young and old, instruction from seasoned pros. Which brings us back to Mellor’s excitement over the institute from a restaurant business perspective.

“This will give us some truly trained, young, upcoming professionals that want to participate in our industry,” said Mellor.

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