Cook of the Week: Lynne Ranew-Mertins
sometimes dreads the holiday season.
Not because she
doesn't enjoy spending time with her
family or going Christmas shopping, it's just she
rarely has time to because her
catering services are so high in demand.
"It starts around Thanksgiving and goes right on to about the 29th of December," the Albany native explained.Lynne Ranew-Mertins Catering LLC
is booked solid throughout the entire holiday season, hosting events every day for a month except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas.
For 30 years, Ranew-Mertins
has catered for people all over Southwest Georgia
, and for the last five years, she
has used the Shackelford House as a venue for those who don't want to use their own house or have to decorate.
"Larry Walden called and said he
wanted me to be the one that handled anyone who wanted to use the house for anything, so I moved in," she
Since then, Ranew-Mertins
has decorated and redecorated the house the suit the needs of the guests.
"You can make the house look totally different.That's the challenge that I like, making every event look different from the other so the guests can't say, 'Oh, I've seen that before,' " Ranew-Mertins
also takes pride in decorating the food as well, garnishing it with fruit to make it look as good as it will taste.
"I love the presentation," she
said so far she
already has several spring weddings booked for next year.
"It's a kind of business when you're real busy sometimes and then you're not busy and then you're back busy again," she
said."But you can set your schedule like you want it."Ranew-Mertins
has a reputation for being the go-to person for recipes or for a meal for a large gathering having served as food service director at Porterfield Memorial United Methodist Church
for 17 years.She
usually serves about 400 people every Wednesday for dinner at the church.But having a reputation as a good cook has its downfalls.Ranew-Mertins
said people are too intimidated by her
cooking to ever want to cook for her
"People say, 'We don't want to cook for you,' " she