#MNPSVoices – Chef Christina Trikoris, Culinary Arts Instructor, Glencliff High School

Although Chef Christina Trikoris has only been with Metro Nashville Public Schools for a short period of time, she is excited about the opportunity to serve as the culinary arts instructor at Glencliff High School.   

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“I want to be able to teach students something they have never seen or tasted before,” Trikoris said.

Trikoris, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been an award-winning chef for nearly 10 years. As a student, she chose a more non-traditional path to accomplish her goals by opting to attend Job Corps where she was trained through a work-based learning program.

After graduation, she was hired to work in their Culinary Arts Department before continuing her culinary education through the United States Army where she attended Culinary Specialist school.

Trikoris’ skilled background afforded her the opportunity to create meals for dignitaries both in the states and abroad, including for the secretary of defense and local notables such as the Tennessee Titans. After an honorable discharge from the Army, she elected to give back to Job Corp serving as a teacher to train students as cooks, and sweet and savory chefs.

“My role is to create a path for my students that will make them employable when they leave my classroom,” Trikoris said.

Trikoris believes having the rank structure of the military, combined with a similar hierarchy as a chef, holds parallel disciplines and a sense of professionalism she introduces in her classroom structure. Trikoris not only teaches her students how to cook, but the proper kitchen safety, etiquette and food handling protocols in the kitchen.

“By bridging these two backgrounds, it will give my students the discipline and safety knowledge they need to be successful both inside and outside of the classroom,” she said.

For the 2019-20 school year, Glencliff has established a new community partnership with the Westin Hotel and Carnival Cruise line. Trikoris is hopeful she can cultivate a strong relationship that will include a work-based learning program for her students, like the one she was able to benefit from.

“Even if my students don’t choose the path of becoming a chef they will have basic hospitality skills that can be used in other fields of work,” Trikoris said. 

When Trikoris is not in the classroom, she runs her own pastry business, Chef Funny Baker. She also participates in numerous cooking competitions around the state with the support of her husband and military family.