Hotbed of Peppers

Hotbed of Peppers

UT Knoxville’s Culinary Institute last summer added a new crop to its kitchen garden—a Thai pepper that is one of the world’s hottest.

Unless it’s prepared correctly, bhut jolokia is so hot it can cause severe reactions, even heart attack. Signs in the garden warn people not to eat the raw peppers.

The bhut jolokia was planted in a section of the Culinary Institute’s plot called the Five Alarm Garden because it also contains jalapeños, habaneros, and other hot peppers. Culinary Institute students use peppers from the garden in the dishes they prepare.

The Five Alarm Garden was the brainchild of John Antun, assistant professor of retail, hospitality, and tourism management and director of the Culinary Institute. The Culinary Institute’s kitchen garden is located on the grounds of the campus Visitors Center in Knoxville. The garden produces figs, carrots, blueberries, thyme, curly parsley, and other ingredients used by the Culinary Institute’s student chefs.

The institute is a 10-month certificate program offered by the Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management of UT Knoxville’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.