Lyn Deardorff, Owner & Creator of Preserving Now
For more about Lyn, see the “About” Menu Page
Here’s our talented pool of Instructors:
Will J. Acosta
Will Acosta has had a love and passion for food since he was a young child. He watched his grandfather preserve the fruits of his and other’s North Louisiana garden. Tomatoes, figs, blackberries… the varieties were endless. His Mother was a caterer and owned a restaurant and he washed dishes, cooked and served.
As an adult, he searches out food experiences and sees food as not only the way we nourish our bodies, but also as a way to connect people.
David’s love of food and teaching has its roots in his Italian heritage and his hometown of Chicago, where a shared meal -be it a fresh slice of bread when you stopped by for a visit or an abundant Sunday dinner with neighbors, friends and family – was the norm. Life was a celebration and food was at the core of it all.
Not a culinary professional, but rather a ‘damn good cook’ this recovering caterer has overseen meals serving 2 to 2000, and has taught extensively at The Cook’s Warehouse, as well as at Americas Mart and for Breville USA, WMF, Fagor, and privately. David’s classes are an abundant bowl of information combined with hefty dollops of nostalgia, tips and tricks, off the cuff experimentation and improvisation, and a large smidge of humor.
Cara-Lee Langston is a South African-born Nutritionist, Herbalist, and Wellness Cook. An Exercise Science undergraduate, she also holds a Certificate in Medical Herbalism from the Botanologos School of Herbal Studies and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health from the Maryland University of Integrative Health.
Cara strives to build relationships with local farmers and engage community interest in integrative health and wellness.
As Teaching Kitchen Coordinator for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Cara-Lee works to develop nutrition and culinary education programs for adults and kids in need.
Miss Ladybug of Ladybug Events is a whimsical educator who excels at blending learning, entertainment, and wonder.
She provides enrichment programs to schools around metro atlanta and is also a children’s entertainer for birthday parties and community events. Miss Ladybug is teaching and entertaining at The Learning Kitchen’s Camps for Kids
Find out more about her and Ladybug Events at LadybugeventsLLC.com
Soap Maker Terran Lewis produces and sells her natural handmade soaps through her company, Herb ‘n Eden. Promoting healthy skin and holistic health through essential everyday products, Terran only uses essential oils and other plant-based ingredients.
Terran’s soap making experience serves her well when teaching safety first along with the important & complex steps in making cold-processed soaps.
A long time plant and plant food enthusiast, Mercedes Melendez hopes to spread the joys of cooking with plants. Her varied culinary background crosses time and distance for twelve years from Atlanta to Hawaii. She has taught as a kitchen instructor of raw and livings foods in Atlanta’s own Living Foods Institute and can be seen around town at local farmers markets showcasing her work at chef demos.
Having been certified in both raw foods preparation and as a ServSafe Food Protection manager she has worked with high-end private clients, managed a busy restaurant kitchen, and shared her talents with underprivileged communities. Her ultimate goal is make food delicious, nutritious, and accessible to all. When taking a course with Chef Mercedes, expect meals that are sprouted, living, and allergy friendly. She strives to have ingredients that are organic, fair-trade, and as local as possible. Her close relationship to Atlanta’s local farmers and food producers ensures just that.
Christine A. Seelye-King
Chef Christine Seelye-King is a professional Chef Instructor and Cookbook Author, teaching culinary skills to students of all ages from small children through senior citizens. She is the co-author of Easy Gluten-Free Entertaining, and author of the ebook Mrs. Claus Cooks for Holiday Entertaining. She has worked with the Hope Scholarship Program through Chattahoochee Technical College, teaching the first year of culinary basics and management to advanced placement high school students, and as a Chef Instructor to the public at the Viking Cooking School and Cook’s Warehouse. She is a certified ServSafe instructor and proctor for the National (and Georgia) Restaurant Associations.
Christine served a 3-year chef’s apprenticeship through the American Culinary Federation, becoming the first woman to graduate from the program in the SE in 1984. Since then her job titles have included Restaurant and Bar Manager, Personal Chef, Health and Education Coordinator for Sevananda Natural Foods, Mad Scientist, and Mrs. Claus. She currently teaches with the LEAD Homeschool Organization as a Chef Instructor and teacher of Living History and Domestic Sciences.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Brandi Shelton (AKA “The tea lady”) grew up with a grandmother that had a concoction for every aliment.
While studying Fashion Design abroad, blending tea leaves with a little bit of fruit or herbs became her concoction in a cup while on the other side of the pond.
Back in the States, Brandi decided she would make what she wanted and share it with the world. just add honey tea company was born.
Since 2006, she’s blended what feels right and tastes good. Plain and simple with a lot of love.
Julia Skinner is a visual artist and food historian who works as a museum curator and educator in the Atlanta metro area.
She lives in southside Atlanta and enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her nearest and dearest people and critters.
Kirsten Simmons, MPH
Kirsten Simmons has a love of everything food, garden and data has led her to make every mistake in the book (and then some!).
She runs a farm in East Atlanta and has been brewing her own kombucha for four years.
An exciting food experience is what I expect before I try something new or something that I have experienced and love. I hope to bring you the same philosophy starting from the other side of the table – shopping, preparation, cooking, tasting, and tasting – with an international flare and hopefully a side of fun during the process.
Being born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, I was surrounded by great people and the authenticity and diversity of Chinese cuisine, as well as many elements of the Thai, Japanese, and Indian influences via my family’s restaurant business and my naturally adventurous self. During my years in high school and in college in the Boston area, my taste has gradually developed from the Italian, French, and Spanish influence from the wonderful people I have made relationships with along the way. You will find that I have a very original approach to preserve the authentic taste of Asian cuisine, but with a contemporary method with everything that can be sourced easily and locally. Thank you for being adventurous on helping me rediscover some of my favorite Asian flavors from my childhood.
Rebecca’s interest in baking stems from early childhood. Her grandmothers, on both sides, would sit her up on the countertop to keep her occupied and out of trouble while they were doing their own cooking and baking. Sometimes she’d get to dump the pre-measured ingredients into the bowl and be “helpful.” Since that time, Rebecca has taken those same old recipes and reconfigured them to elevate the hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and other synthetic additives to create delicious treats made with real ingredients. She is now the Studio Mama at Zac Brown’s recording studio, Southern Ground Nashville, where she cooks and bakes with local, organic ingredients for the artists who come to work there.
Chef Renee Young
An Atlanta native, Chef Renee is a dynamic personal and catering chef with more than four years of professional experience. She began her career early in life, at the age of 7 years old, watching and mimicking cooking shows she watched on Food Network. It was during those moments it was discovered that she had a gift and passion for food. After high school, Chef Renee went on to pursue an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary arts in 2013.
Chef Renee has worked in fine dining establishments and with celebrity chefs, as well as a few celebrities and upscale clients, providing them with excellent personal chef services. Her goal is to make a rewarding impact on people around the world by sharing recipes and experiences with them.