Chef John Fleer, Executive Chef, The Inn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn., is the featured guest chef for the Restaurant at Culinard's quarterly guest chef dinner, Thurs., Aug. 23.
Fleer merges traditional ingredients and methods with innovative techniques to create magical renditions of southern fare. He joined Blackberry Farm in 1992. His primary role in the development of the resort was to define the style of food that would match the property. He named his new creation “foothills cuisine,” which is oriented toward southern foods. “The name also locates us regionally in the Appalachians, and more broadly, in the Southeast. It’s not super-refined city food like you’d find in New York or Chicago. The fine edges are burnished off, making it a little more approachable.” He and his staff use classic techniques and apply them to regional ingredients, such as curing rack of pork with sweet tea.
Fleer combines influences from his own Southern roots with inspiration from other “foothill” cultures such as Gascony, Alsace and the Basque region to create cuisine that is both refined and rugged, served at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. His cooking borrows from both haute cuisine and the country food indigenous to the setting.
Reservations must be made in advance. The four-course meal, including wine paired with each course, is only $50. (We've been to several of these, and the food is excellent.) Call 271-8228 to make your reservations or make them online at www.opentable.com.