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Blackberry Farm.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the mountains. United States,Walland

Joseph Lenn

Chef
Blackberry Farm Walland 37886

A country child from here in the state of Tennessee. That’s me. I owe everything to this land. What got me interested in cooking was an early experience in a butcher’s shop in my native town of Knoxville. And then working with Sean Brock, for the opening of the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. That was decisive in terms of honing my creative talents. And, more than anything else, Blackberry Farm…
An early traineeship opened my eyes to how that restaurant operated. The incredible commitment of the staff to their customers! That’s what made me want to work there. I was first chef de partie, and little by little, I rose up the ranks until I became Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, every day learning a little more about my own terroir, its farmers and their produce... They are behind everything I do. Fish, meat, vegetables and fruit from neighbouring farms provide the tempo for a seasonal cuisine, a cuisine that feels ‘lived-in’, one that is expressive, warm and sincere... The spirit of my very own ‘country’.


What was your most moving culinary experience?
The meal I gave at James Beard House in New York in the presence of my parents. One of the dishes I made had been inspired by my mother. It was a very special moment. As was the time when the Swiss Grand Chef André Jaeger came to Blackberry Farm with his words of praise.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
It has to be at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville where the chef used to enjoy scaring the daylights out of his teams by hiding a fake snake in all kinds of places. I had a really good laugh at the sheer panic that gripped people. Having said that, he caught me out too.

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Be modest, work hard, and pay attention to the very last detail. And be sure never to give up: you can always do better next time.


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