John Antun, associate professor in the Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and director of UT’s Culinary Institute, died Monday after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Antun came to UT in 2004. In 2007 he founded UT’s Culinary Institute and last year he spearheaded a partnership between UT and Pellissippi State Community College so students at the community college could complete part of their culinary arts studies at UT’s Culinary Institute.
In 2008, Antun started the Ready for the World Café, where students in HRT 445, the advanced food production and service management class, got hands-on experience in operating a restaurant. Students planned menus, created budgets and marketing plans, and operated the café in the Hermitage Room of the University Center. The café ended its run in the Hermitage Room in the spring and, this fall, will reopen in the UT Visitors Center as a weekly full-service, fine-dining experience with international themes. It will be a project of HRT 445 students and the UT Culinary Institute and Pellissippi culinary arts students.
Antun’s life was a series of careers—first as a high school teacher, then as a successful chef, and then as educator at the college level.
Antun earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Saint John’s University in Jamacia, New York, and became a high school distributive education teacher. Several years later, he left teaching and became a full-time chef, owning and operating eight successful hospitality and food service businesses, including a popular restaurant called Antun’s of Westchester in Elmsford, New York. In 1995, he sold his business and retired from restaurant work. He enrolled in the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, where he completed his master’s degree in 1997 and his doctoral degree in 1999. He stayed at the University of South Carolina to teach for five years, and he founded the Carolina Culinary Institute at the McCutchen House there.
In 2000, Antun was recognized by his peers and fellow professors in the International Council of Restaurant and Institutional Educators with the Chef Herman Breithaupt award, the highest chef-educator award in the world. His other honors included the 2002 International Food Service Educator of the Year by the International Food Service Educators Network and the 2009 Hospitality Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality Association, as well as numerous outstanding teacher honors at both the college and department levels. He co-authored and contributed to four leading food service and culinary education textbooks, completed twenty-four academic journal articles, and numerous international conference proceedings and presentations. He was the founding co-editor of The International Journal of Culinary Science and Technology.
He is survived by his wife, Lola; two daughters, Cristen Mallinder of Robbinsville, New Jersey, and Elizabeth Maxon of North Bellmore, New York; and a granddaughter, sister and brother.
The family is requesting donations be made to the John Antun Scholarship Fund, c/o RHT Dept., 110 Jessie Harris Bld., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1911.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. today (July 14) at Rose Mortuary, 6200 Kingston Pike. Visitation will continue from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday at John XXIII University Parish and Catholic Center on the UT campus, at 1710 Melrose Place. A service and mass will follow at 3:00 p.m.
For more information, see http://hosting-24617.tributes.com/show/John-Antun-91905077. Read Antun’s obituary in the Knoxville News Sentinel here.