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.
Cassidee DabneyExecutive Chef of The Barn
Gardening, canning, and cooking were an ever-constant happening for Cassidee Dabney growing up. As the daughter of a wildlife biologist in the Forest Service, Dabney moved from National Forest to National Forest. Spending her summers in the family garden, Cassidee anchored her palate with the fresh flavors of seasonal ingredients harvested at their most expressive moments. Her passion for food led Dabney to a career in the culinary field. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Dabney’s diverse background includes stops in Germany, Boston, Atlanta, Hawaii, Arkansas and Wyoming, most of which was spent working for the Four Seasons.
Dabney came to Blackberry Farm in 2010 as a Sous Chef before working her way up to Executive Sous Chef. In 2015, Dabney was named the Executive Chef of the Barn. Dabney’s team prepares beautifully served multicourse menus of the farm’s signature Foothills Cuisine®, inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce grown in a garden a short walk away from the Barn. The Barn has been recognized as one of the top restaurants in the South and hosts the 2014 James Beard award for Outstanding Wine Program.
Sarah SteffanChef de Cuisine of the Dogwood
From line cook to pastry chef to sous chef, Sarah Steffan has held just about every title in the kitchen along the way to becoming the Chef de Cuisine of the Main House at Blackberry Farm. With more than 10 years of experience, Steffan opened the Main House at Blackberry Farm for dinner in April 2015. Steffan grew up on a farm milking goats, planting gardens, and cooking. She learned how to cook using fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients. Steffan’s philosophy of cooking marries perfectly with Blackberry Farm’s Foothills Cuisine®. Prior to Blackberry Farm, Steffan spent many years working in other Relais & Chateaux kitchens including The Point and Fearrington House. A graduate of Paul Smith’s College in New York, Steffan also studied abroad at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Katie BennettHead Baker
While searching for local ingredients to use in baking, Katie Bennett, Head Baker at Blackberry Farm, finds seasonal inspiration and ingredients in the garden, larder and while foraging on the farm. Bennett’s love of baking came from her family as her father was a former baker and she grew up canning and baking in the kitchen. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Bennett had previous stints at restaurants and hotels in New York and South Carolina. Bennett incorporates Foothills Cuisine into her baking by utilizing seasonal ingredients and local products found nearby and from local producers. At Blackberry Farm, Bennett is responsible for overseeing the production of the breads and pastries for the restaurants, managing lunch dessert production and seasonal farmer markets.