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Blackberry Farm in Walland TN - Anyone Know What Happened to Chef John Fleer?

I've noted that the long time chef of Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee) is no longer listed on their website. He's been with them forever, and I've loved his food. The food has always been a highlight of Blackberry Farm and I've followed him whenever he's made appearances on television and other cooking venues. Does anyone know what happened?

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  1. I'll be there in two weeks and will give what info I can, provided that others do not come up with the data beforehand. I had not heard this, but then with my correspondence with BBF, it might not have been a subject that they felt was important.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Please let me know your thoughts Bill. By the way, Andy Chabot is the sommelier.

      1. re: chickstein


        Thanks for that H/U. We're looking forward to this little vacation. With all of the traveling that we do, very, very little is for pleasure, so this will provide a much needed break. I anticipate that the new chef will do great things. I'm sorry that I will miss John Fleer's fare, as I have read a lot of great reviews, but am relieved that the new chef will have had 8 mos. to get to know the kitchen. I also plan on spending a good bit of time with Andy Chabot.

        When asked by the concierge, what we wanted to do, while there, I answered, "just be there... " We are doing two golf outings nearby, but hanging out in the Smokies will be the highlight of the trip - along with the wine and food.

        Thanks for the initial rec. I'm not sure that I would ever have found this place on my own. It was just good timing that my wife had a awards dinner in Nashville, and that they could accommodate us.

        The report may be a bit late, as we will be in the air most of Oct., and early Nov., but it will get posted, along with a review of Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.


    2. Chef Fleer left this past February after a long and fabulous career at IaBF. I haven't heard who his replacement is.

      1. As an update, Chef Fleer left in Feb., as stated in this thread. He's looking at opening something in the Maryville area, but has not announced his space, or his menu yet.

        Chef Peter Glander is now at the head at BBF, and is part of a major expanison there. We dined for five nights and were blown away. We also got the "grand tour," of his new project at BBF, and I'll report on that, when I do the full review.

        I never had the pleasure of dining there, while Chef Fleer was still at the helm, but everyone at BBF speaks of him in the most reverent of terms. They also are supportive of his future efforts in the area.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Thanks for this update on Chef Fleer. I'm glad he left on good terms with the BBF group. We've always talked with him during our Blackberry Farm visits, because he used to cook here in Chapel Hill back in the old days. He mentioned to us several years back that he was thinking about coming back this way to open a restaurant. I had my hopes up for that - it would have been a real gain! But, he seemed to be happy in Tennessee. It's good to get this information.

          1. re: wintersummer

            Well, many years later, I can report that Chef Fleer was looking to open his own restaurant in the Maryville area, but then was recruited elsewhere. Now, that seemed to not have worked out, and no one has had any recent info on him, but all of the Blackberry Farm "family," wishes him well. There was talk about Cherokee, NC, and other talk about Maryille, but no one seemed to know for sure.

            Wish that I had more concrete info.


        2. he is currently the cheff at a restaurant in Cashiers, NC. The restaurant is in a developmant called lonsome valley.

          7 Replies
          1. re: csjennin

            I remember passing Lonesome Valley. Wish that I'd have known then. Next trip out that way, I know where we'll definitely include.

            Thank you,


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              It's called Canyon Kitchen, at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers. Reservations are required and it is open Thursday thru Sunday. He is growing a lot of his own produce and is a farm to table season menu. It is a stunning setting and well worth the trip out of the way.

              1. re: mountainhound

                Great info. Now, if I can just get into my wife's schedule to get back this year!

                Thank you,


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Hello! I came across this thread while catching up on Blackberry Farm news.... I thought you might like to read this wonderful article!


                  I too have enjoyed Chef Fleer's magical dishes! Blackberry Farm is an extraordinary place! They have a wonderful newsletter now, you should sign up!

                  1. re: dinner42

                    dinner42 - thanks for posting this article. My original question has been answered. I haven't been back to Blackberry Farm since Clef Fleer left - I'm just getting the sense it might have gotten to be a bit larger than we like. I have such fond memories of the "old" Blackberry.

                    1. re: wintersummer

                      I would strongly suggest giving them another try. The Barn, while larger, is still quite intimate. Cannot tell if we'd rather dine there, or the old Main House dining room. Each has pluses and minuses, and the Main House holds memories, though we're making some of those at The Barn, as well.

                      We already have them scheduled in July for the Smoky Mountain Table (a redux for us), and are looking at two more dates, but only time will tell.

                      We passed on Taste of the South this year, after having been snowed in last year. Looks like a repeat - however, a week of being snowed in with my wife is not THAT bad a situation.


                    2. re: dinner42

                      Great article, and thank you for sharing that. Now we know where Chef Fleer has gone. Gotta' add in Cashiers, NC on my next trip.



            2. He is at Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, N.C.: