Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Blackberry Farm Announces Changes in Executive Chefs of the Barn


Walland, TN -  After ten years of cooking and the last five years of leading the James Beard Award winning restaurant at Blackberry Farm, Joseph Lenn is stepping down as Executive Chef of The Barn and Chef Cassidee Dabney will be promoted to the role.  

“For the last ten years, I have been able to work at one of the most beautiful places on earth, Blackberry Farm. This is where I learned how to cook, met my wife, found out how things should taste coming straight out of the natural surroundings, learned to see details that are often overlooked, and that our guests are the most important focus,” says Lenn. “With so much influence, Blackberry Farm will always be special to me.”

“Blackberry Farm has such a strong culinary tradition that will easily live on as I or other chefs transition through because of the passionate family and owner behind the brand,” Lenn continues. “Before me, some of the most influential chefs of the South; Bob Carter and John Fleer, were the executive chefs of Blackberry Farm who became mentors in my early career. To work with some of the South’s most influential chefs and work for a family as committed to quality, as the Bealls, has been an amazing honor. ”

Lenn plans to pursue his dreams of opening his own restaurant in the Knoxville, Tenn., area.  

“So many emotions come to the surface today. Joseph Lenn, an incredible person and exceptionally talented chef is moving on to fulfill his own culinary pursuits. For more than ten years at Blackberry Farm and the last five as the Executive Chef of our Barn Restaurant, Joseph has helped drive our culinary experience to new levels, along the way bringing home a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast, an accolade that no Tennessee chef or restaurant had seen before,” said Blackberry Farm Proprietor Sam Beall.  

Beall continues, “Joseph was able to connect the ideals of Southern Cuisine with the pure and brilliant flavors of garden foraged ingredients. He has helped our guests understand that “Southern Food” is so much more than deep-fried and comes with all sorts of traditions and inspirations. He has helped bring cleaner, more vegetable driven style back into Southern cooking as much as any other southern chef in the past ten years. As sad as we are to see Joseph move on, we could not be more excited to know that he will be opening his own restaurant right here in our community. There is no doubt that it will be resounding success, and we look forward to being the first diners there when it opens!”

“We are equally excited for Cassidee Dabney, our current Executive Sous Chef, who will take over for Joseph when he steps down on April 2nd,” says Beall.  “A long-term Blackberry Farm veteran, Cassidee is remarkably talented and the world will discover the same soon enough.”

A total of ten years spent in the kitchens at Blackberry Farm mixed with a stint in Arkansas as a sous chef of the Capital Hotel, Cassidee Dabney has all the experience and skills to take The Barn at Blackberry Farm into the future.  Upon her return from Arkansas, when asked what she would like to accomplish while at Blackberry, she openly said that she wanted to take Joseph’s job and be Executive Chef of the Barn. Her enthusiasm, passion and talent are the perfect recipe to carry on the Blackberry Farm culinary tradition.

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For more information on Blackberry Farm please visit For all media inquiries please email Sarah Elder Chabot at or call 865-380-2626.

About Blackberry Farm  
Blackberry Farm – often described as “Easy to get to. Hard to leave.” is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. This 68-room Relais and Chateaux property offers some of the world’s finest cuisine and wines, fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, sporting clays, and cycling. In addition to an abundance of outdoor activities, Blackberry Farm offers a spa and a series of annual culinary, enrichment and adventure events. For reservations and information, please call 800.557.8864 or visit