About the Chefs
Josh FeathersCorporate Chef
It all comes down to the details. The perfect placement for the final piece of fennel on an afternoon masterpiece or the flawless purity of a simple Bartlett Pear, Blackberry Farm Corporate Chef Josh Feathers understands the importance of details in world-class cuisine. An East Tennessee native who grew up with an appreciation for the region and its land, Chef Feathers understands and appreciates the flavors that the South has to offer, while adding touches of elegance he learned through his world-wide travels. Finding his culinary inspiration and initial training in Naples, Italy, Chef Feathers discovered his passion for culinary arts while stationed overseas with the United States Navy.
As sous chef for the Commander in Chief of Southern Forces in Europe, Chef Feathers prepared formal dinners and ceremonies for numerous dignitaries. He found inspiration in the culture and cuisine of Italy and its passion for food. From Naples to the Pentagon, Chef Feathers moved back to the United States to begin his next assignment with the Secretary of the Navy. Heads of State, Senators, Foreign Ambassadors and the Navy’s distinguished guests have all experienced the gastronomic talents of Chef Feathers. Chef Feathers joined the Blackberry Farm culinary team nine years ago, serving as Pastry Chef, Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef, rising to Corporate Chef in 2007. As Corporate Chef, Josh oversees the operations of both the Larder, to include the operations of the preservation kitchen, cheese room and butcher shop, as well as the Main House Dining Rooms, creating the breakfast and lunch portion of the guest experience.
Joseph LennExecutive Chef of The Barn
Joseph Lenn, Executive Chef of the Barn, leads his team in providing the FoothillsCuisine for which Blackberry Farm has come to be known. A Tennessee native, Lenn is garnering national attention for his talents in the kitchen. In 2013, Lenn was awarded the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast and was a nominee for the award in 2012. Also in 2012, he was included in the running as one of Food & Wine’s The People’s Choice Best New Chef: Southeast. In 2011, he was honored to receive the title of Grand Chef by the Relais & Chateaux organization, as well as a nod by Food & Wine as one of the top upcoming New Chefs.
Lenn’s team prepares beautifully served multicourse menus, inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce grown just a few feet away from the Barn in the gardens. A carefully relocated bank barn from the 1800s, the Barn is a visually grand setting in which to relish the earthy delicacies of Blackberry Farm’s bakery, butchery, creamery, and 8,000-square-foot wine cellar.
Inspired by his mother and grandmother from a young age, Lenn sought a career in the culinary world. His training started in the butcher shop at a local independent grocery store of his hometown. Quality ingredients were of the utmost importance there, and Lenn learned that the best food comes from the best product. This thought led him to culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Charleston, SC, where he was able to hone his skills in the kitchen.
During his time in culinary school, Lenn completed an internship at Blackberry Farm and then returned to Charleston to work at the Peninsula Grill with Chef Bob Carter while he finished school. Three years later, Lenn assisted Chef Sean Brock in opening the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, where he worked for two years honing his creative talent. During this time, his deep love for east Tennessee brought him back to Blackberry Farm again and again, assisting in cooking schools and special events. “I have always loved the Southeast, and growing up in this region inspires a lot of things that I do,” he says. “At Blackberry Farm, I cook regionally inspired dishes, but more than that, I love the process that I am a part of here. From joining our master gardeners and picking what is sprouting to having fresh ingredients delivered right to the kitchen door, I can’t help but love what I do. Each season brings a new culinary adventure.”
Lenn joined the Blackberry Farm team in 2005 as sous chef, and worked his way up through the kitchens to become Executive Chef of the Barn in 2010.
Liz WilliamsPastry Chef
Inspired by southern cuisine and her upbringing in Pennsylvania, Liz Williams leads Blackberry Farm’s pastry team in creating new and inspiring pastry dishes. A graduate of both the DCT Swiss Hotel & Business Management School and IUP Academy of Culinary Arts, Liz came to Blackberry Farm in 2011 from The Inn at Little Washington. As the pastry chef, Liz is responsible for managing the pastry team as well as menu planning, new dessert creation and chocolates.