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Meet John

John Eisensmith


John’s love of food began watching his grandfather cook meals at their family’s farm in Virginia. In high school, he started his professional cooking career at a Greek diner in his hometown of York Haven, Pennsylvania before attending The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. For the next 20 years, he has honed his knowledge and skills working primarily in 4 star/fine dining restaurants in the Outer Banks, Miami, Nantucket, and Durham; even getting to cook at the James Beard House in NYC. From 2010-2017, John was Executive Chef and eventually Partner at Six Plates Wine Bar, before opening Mattie B’s Public House and Black Twig Cider House with his then business partner, until he was ready for his first solo venture.

John has taught cooking classes at Duke University, Southern Season, the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, and the UNC Wellness Center and those classes introduced him to teaching non-professional cooks, as well as planted the seed for the next phase of his career. He created Season to Taste for all who love food, want to be more comfortable and confident in the kitchen, and want to learn to cook the way a chef does, at home.

Now, as a speaker and educator, John spends his time helping people transform their relationship with food - and with life - through entertaining and interactive engagements, classes, and writings.


Heidi Smith

Heidi and John have known and worked together, off and on, for over a decade! Heidi’s infectious personality, amazing skills across both food and computer lands, and tenacious drive to tackle anything John throws her way is unmatched and what has propelled her to become an unbelievably indispensable part of the team. If it’s not John, it was probably Heidi who made it happen…;)


Chef X

Chef X doesn’t like the spotlight (hence the lack of name) but we always give credit where credit is due!! Chef X and John first started cooking together over a decade ago when John first moved to Durham and their like-minded styles meshed from the start. Back in the kitchen with John again, his love, care, and curiosity for food and cooking shine through everything he touches or conversation he has about food and has made him a true leader in the kitchen. When he’s not in the kitchen Chef X loves refereeing soccer, gardening unique species of all things edible, and has been known to enjoy a tequila or IPA on occasion…;)


Aiden Lankford

Aiden is our newest member of the team, but has come on strong! He is in the culinary program at Northern High School and has plans to go to The Culinary Institute of America, John’s Alma Mater. He predominately helps set up and break down our classes but also fills in gaps wherever possible and generally soaks up as much knowledge, experience, and information as possible to aid his goal of becoming a Professional Chef! While he may be technically still “a kid”, he brings the professionalism and drive of a veteran every day! If this is the future, we’re all going to be just fine when it’s Aiden’s turn at the helm!


Gloria and Lulu

(aka “The Ladies”)

John’s chickens make sure nothing goes to waste at Season to Taste! We take great care to utilize every bit of our produce we can, but nonetheless producing our delicious food creates some food waste. The Ladies are more than happy to take whatever’s left (other than onion skins/pieces) and transform it into fresh eggs and beautiful compost for us! Gloria and Lulu thank you for your support as the more food we teach with, the more scraps they get to eat!


Ready to Get Cooking?

Origin Story


​Season to Taste began with one of our dinner parties. After dinner, everyone was talking about how great the food was and I said, “it wasn’t that hard, anyone can make this food!” I reflected on that thought for about a year and began creating Season to Taste to teach people how to cook. What resulted was a series of cooking classes designed to teach people how to cook, the same way I was taught in culinary school, but geared toward the home. Knowing how to cook, comprehensively, allows you to prepare great food more simply, with more flavor, using any ingredients available. That makes cooking more natural, less stressful, and more enjoyable, because you are not bound to a few treasured recipes.

Some of the best food comes from people who have the least amount of formal training, like our grandparents, but who know food and how to handle it. The rest is simply practice, care, and your own curiosity. You don’t need to be a Professional Chef to create your own food. You just need basic food knowledge and a few simple techniques and ideologies. Then you can begin to create your own food, however you like it, perfectly Seasoned to Your Taste, as all Chefs do.

Why give a person a fish when you can teach a person to fish, right?

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