Cooking Class Instructors

Sieglinde D’Elia was born in Landshut, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in the 50s. Here, she met her husband François, a Frenchman of Italian family, at an English evening class. She moved to Italy in the 70s and lived there for 17 years, and eventually moved back to the U.S. in the late 80s.

Her cuisine is versatile and completely intuitive, and abounds in Italian recipes for her savory dishes, and German ones for her desserts. She has a home-based baking business, and her cakes range from classic tarts to creamy flans, and she has many gluten free options.


Eric Haralson has long been an aficionado of BBQ. He studied under the renowned Billy Bob Billy, a Memphis in May champion, and has won numerous awards for his unique sauces and ribs.  He and his band of brothers, the “Friars for Hire” from his church, cater a variety of events, donating all proceeds to charity.                              


Geoff Kenny, got his start in the culinary world at age 15. He earned a degree in Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington After graduation he worked with Chef Shawn Wellersdick of the Port Land Grille in Wilmington North Carolina. Chef Shawn showed Geoff how to cook with local ingredients and sparked his passion for creative local cuisine. Geoff moved to Knoxville in 2007 and began working as the Executive Chef at LaCosta on Market Square. He has also been the Executive Chef at The General Morgan Inn (Greeneville TN). He currently leads the culinary teams at Cru Bistro and Wine Bar, Harvest, and Nama Sushi Bar in Knoxville.


Mike Loosli, gained his passion for cooking with his mom who ran a bakery out of their home; leading him on to develop a very diverse culinary background. While in Texas, he learned from a very inspiring chef at a local Italian restaurant and other chefs at various pubs in Dallas. These experiences enhanced his leadership skills for becoming a manager at Knoxville’s Irish Times and later Puleo’s and the Executive Chef of Restaurant Linderhof in Knoxville. Currently Mike is the sous chef at Finn’s Restaurant and Tavern. Mike utilizes components from his broad ranging background to create unique and exciting flavors.


David Pinckney, a culinary celebrity in Knoxville, apprenticed under Chef Bill Allen at The Orangery. In 1987 David accepted the Executive Chef position at the Orangery and has been doing cooking classes at Glass Bazaar for thirteen years. David was a Chef for the Tennessee Bicentennial Dinner at the James Beard House in New York. He is currently the Executive Chef of Cherokee Country Club. They are very excited to have David join their great team.


Amy Ridgell has spent her life cooking with family and friends in East Tennessee. She has a master’s degree in education from UTK and started her private chef business “The Savory Whisk” four years ago. She offers a wide variety of culinary learning experiences, including both private and group classes for children to adults of all ages. She enjoys using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients in creative recipes, as well as, inspiring others to expand their knowledge of cooking in exciting and interactive classes.


Jeff Ross, Blackberry Farm’s Field School Manager since 2006, currently teaches cooking classes for Blackberry Farm. He is a Knoxville native who has a profound passion for food and he has found at Blackberry Farm, a place to showcase his talents in cooking and the food-ways of Appalachia.