Corbin In The Dell, LLC is a local food and social media consulting service for the Middle Tennessee area. It’s owner, Melissa D. Corbin, is proud to connect local farmers, artisans and purveyors with restaurants and other food related businesses. It is through social media communities that she is able to co-brand those relationships.
Melissa grew up on a farm in Clarksville, Tennessee. It was a gift! This is where roots meet passion for her. While her Daddy taught her love and respect of the land, her Mamma taught her the connection between food and community. While other little ones were taking a nap on their mats at daycare, she was sound asleep in the cab of her Daddy’s John Deere. To this day, she can fall asleep just about anywhere. She remembers praying for a sunny day for the swimming pool and her Daddy reminding her that the crops needed rain. Her Daddy was the one that taught her about proper times for planting, feeding, protecting and harvesting. Little did he know, that these principles would go way beyond the fields for Melissa.
Before she could see above the kitchen counter, she was cooking with her Mamma for the farm hands’ lunch plates. Her Mamma laughs at times, because these days her Mamma would have probably been accused of child neglect for letting a five year old handle a knife. Back then, she and her Mamma could cook just about anything to feed a crew of hungry farm hands. We’re not talking slop here. We’re talking fried chicken with mashed potatoes and turnip greens. The hands loved the warm biscuits and gravy that came out piping hot. Chess pies and fresh apple cake! One day, Melissa came home from second grade fit to be tied. She and her classmates were to write a recipe that would be included in that year’s Mother’s Day Cookbook. While other kids gave “half-baked” recipes for toast and Kraft Mac and Cheese, Melissa submitted her tried and true beef stew recipe. Her Mamma still has that cookbook to this day! She and her sister, Betsy, spent many hours in the garden with Mamma and Daddy. Betsy even wrote a spelling sentence for garden that blew the other kids sentences out of the water. She authentically wrote, “The garden is hot.” Betsy went on to receive a Bachelors of Science in horticulture.
Melissa moved to Nashville in 1989 to go to Belmont University. Graduating with a Bachelors of Social Work and just shy of a double of vocal performance in 1994, she spent the first 7 years of her professional life working with abused children, the home-bound elderly population and pre-adoptive family counseling. It was her trips home to see Mamma and Daddy, that helped her see the joys of life on the farm. As her career shifted to a sales and marketing focus, she quickly realized the same skill sets applied. Listening, relationship and rapport building skills were paramount in the success of the next chapter in her life just as they were in her previous humanitarian roles. There was never a time that her Daddy or Grandaddy wouldn’t try to figure out how yours and their families connect.. During this time, she fell in love and married the one missing link to her story. Most know him as Stuart, but she knows him as Pank (blog entries to follow.) Since they met a little later in life, raising a family of their own was not on the table.
They decided to enjoy the fruits of their labor for food, wine and travel. What Melissa always dreamt was that her Pank would fall in love with the roots and passion that she has always known. Blending his Texas heritage with her Tennessee roots, Melissa has come full circle in her career. She has had the great fortune of working as a PR event manager for HealthSpring and Senior Account Executive for Graffiti Indoor Advertising. In both roles, she came to know and love a great deal of restaurants in the Middle Tennessee area. Nashville has become one of the darlings of America’s food scene. She has always felt that people should know the origin of their food. Daddy taught her to “stand up there and act like you got some sense.” While anticipating the high demand of discerning palates in Nashville, Melissa founded Corbin In The Dell,LLC in October of 2012. Her focus is heading towards sustainability, towards food bought from the source…towards the supporting of those who give a damn. Her roots have pulled her back and she can’t thank them enough. Now, it’s time for her to take hold of her own piece of earth and see how far she can reach to the sun.
She is a member of Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. She was a top ten semi-finalist of Nashville Emerging Leadership Awards of 2011. She currently is a President’s Advisory Council board member for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and one of their New Member Hosts. She is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Tennessee Association of Farmers Markets and is active in the Nashville American Marketing Association.
Headshot by Ashley Segroves