James Beard Celebrity Chef Series: Blackberry Farm Profile

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Click here to order tickets to the remaining James Beard Celebrity Chef Series dinners.

“I admire the Blackberry Farm ethic — the reverence for place and people, the dedication to artisinal excellence, the trust in long-held traditions, and the belief that, as Wendell Berry once put it, eating is an agricultural act.”

–John T. Edge

If you missed last night’s James Beard Celebrity Chef Series (Cooking in the Bluegrass) at the World Equestrian Games, you still have multiple opportunities to get acquainted with Blackberry Farm.

A Relais and Chateaux destination, the 4,200 acre Walland, Tennessee farm is known for its 6000-wine list, the farm-to-table cuisine, and grounds that include everything from a farmhouse spa to fly fishing. For an extra $250, with prior approval, you can even take your dog.

In a 2010 Southern Food Poll, David Chang told Oxford American Magazine, he would choose Blackberry Farm as the Southern restaurant he’d order his last meal from, saying, “If it’s my last meal, I would want to raid Sam’s epic wine cellar and drink myself into oblivion. Plus, it’s one of the prettiest places to go.” (Oxford’s John Currence is also interviewed in the same poll, and will close out the WEG’s James Beard Celebrity Chef series on October 10. )

Southern Living named Blackberry Farm one of three Southern trips of a lifetime,  (alongside Millionaire’s Row at the Kentucky Derby). Garden and Gun Magazine threw their first Secret Society Weekend  at Blackberry Farm this summer. Ashley Judd and Mandy Moore were featured guests at the “Appetite for Life” fundraiser at the farm, benefiting Five and Alive’s Haiti initiatives. Daniel Boulud served lunch there in August. Alton Brown highlighted it as one of “America’s Best” on the Food Network. Chris Thile (Punch Brothers) name-checked them in an interview with Wine Spectator. He played a concert there where Thomas Keller was a guest.

In 2005, John T. Edge called Blackberry Farm one of the South’s best kept secrets in Town and Country.

The secret’s out.

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