By: Rebecca Herman
When Craig Cox heard about a teaching job at Johnson County High School, he jumped at the opportunity to work in the culinary arts department. “My goal here is to teach young students to be job ready and produce a group of students that can go out and revolutionize the restaurant business.” Cox, who graduated from Memphis Culinary, has extensive experience in commercial kitchens. He began working immediately after graduating from Memphis Culinary and after a year was offered a job working for Rena Franklin who was a former United States ambassador to Israel. Franklin had moved back to the US and opened a restaurant. She had six children, but none of them were interested in the restaurant business. Franklin viewed Cox as her seventh child and she wanted him to learn the business. This restaurant specialized in French Mediterranean cooking and Cox was able to work his creativity through the menu which changed monthly. Cox then was offered a job as a sous chef at Bosco’s in Germantown. He was quickly promoted to executive chef and was moved to a Bosco’s in Nashville. This restaurant was one of the premiere restaurants in Nashville and brought in over $5 million annually. Cox moved back to East Tennessee when his wife, Beth, gave birth to twin girls. Over the next several years he worked in restaurants that drew him closer and closer to Johnson County. First, he found employment in Knoxville as the executive chef at the Italian Grille and Market, then he worked as the general manager of Flapjacks in Gatlinburg, and then as the general manager for Panera in Johnson City. It was in this final restaurant that Cox received a call from a friend who informed Cox of the teaching job in Johnson County. Cox was excited to try something new and now that his twins were in middle school, he wanted to be able to be more available in their lives and be able to help in the sports that his girls were participating in.
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