Knoxville Convention Center executive chef creates ‘TRUPRO’ class

📅March 29th, 2016, 16:02

Last week, several young people graduated from a program started by Knoxville Convention Center Executive Chef Chris Moore that offered hands-on culinary career skills training and mentorship to individuals recovering from substance abuse problems.

Chef Moore accept his award from the Metro Drug Coalition for Commitment  to Service in recognition of the TRUPRO program.

Chef Moore (center) accepts his award from the Metro Drug Coalition (MDC) for Commitment to Service from Scott Payne, MDC executive director, and Webster Bailey, executive director business development and outreach at Cornerstone of Recovery. 

In the fall of 2015, Moore partnered with True Purpose Ministries, a low-cost residential program for those recovering from substance abuse, and a veterans’ organization working with recovering addicts to develop “TRUPRO,” a culinary education curriculum that would provide marketable skills to the participants.

Over the past several months, the students learned culinary skills, including math and food measurement, products, gastronomy, food safety and preparation techniques for various cuisines. The students received hands-on training by Moore after hours in the Convention Center’s industrial culinary kitchen and assisted with limited food prep as needed for events at the center.
Moore pointed out the character development aspect of the “TRUPRO” program is as important as learning job skills. Moore, who acted as a mentor to the participants, is especially qualified for the role because he overcame substance abuse. Moore has been clean for more than a decade, and after changing his life, moved across the country to start anew with his family in Knoxville. He knows firsthand the value of second chances.

In December 2015, Moore was honored with the Commitment to Service Award from the Metro Drug Coalition in Knox County for the development of this program. Moore also has been involved as an instructor in other programs that offer culinary job skills, including the Abundant Life Kitchen, a program for transitioning homeless through Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries, and a program through the Tennessee School for the Deaf. Several students have been hired at the Knoxville Convention Center from these programs and have been excellent employees.

Upon graduation from the “True Pro” program, the graduates are immediately available for placement in a restaurant or culinary environment. A few of the students have shown tremendous responsibility and aptitude for the culinary industry and have been asked to join the Convention Center culinary staff. We are pleased to have them join our team.