Beginning today, Alabama Chanin is launching a Chef Series for The Factory Café. Each month, we will feature seasonal dishes on our menu from chefs (or restaurants) that share our values of celebrating place, artisanal craftsmanship of all kinds, and, simply said, good food.
Our focus through these collaborations will be on regional chefs and regionally-inspired cuisine—dishes that we can recreate in our café by locally sourcing ingredients. In the upcoming year, The Factory will host brunches, dinners, book signings, and even cooking and cocktail workshops with an array of chefs.
A few years ago, I made an extraordinary trip to Blackberry Farm, located in beautiful Walland, Tennessee, on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ever since that first journey (thanks to friends at the Southern Foodways Alliance), I’ve had a deep appreciation and respect for the artisans and chefs working at the Farm—and have loved using their cookbooks in my own kitchen.
From making biscuits to hosting an upcoming Weekend Away Workshop, my relationship with Blackberry Farm has grown over the years. So, I was thrilled when Chef Joseph Lenn and Blackberry Farm agreed to launch our Chef Series in the month of April.
Joseph is executive chef of the Barn at Blackberry Farm. He joined the Blackberry Farm team in 2005 as sous chef, and worked his way up in the kitchens, becoming executive chef of the Barn in 2010. Just last year, the Tennessee native was awarded the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast.
“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.”
Joseph and his team prepare beautiful (and delicious) meals, inspired by seasonal and farm-fresh products. In fact, most of the produce used in his dishes is grown in the gardens at the Farm—a deed that inspires us here at The Factory, as we search for ways to further source organic and local ingredients.
Check back next week as we share favorite recipes and products from Blackberry Farm—including those currently featured on our café menu from The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm.
This June, I will be traveling to Blackberry Farm once again to host a Weekend Away Workshop. Participants will work with me and the Alabama Chanin team to create a custom garment or project of their choice, while enjoying incredible meals prepared onsite, beautiful settings, special guests, and gifts from our studio. Guests will be immersed in the Alabama Chanin philosophy as they learn various stitching techniques, tips, and tricks. We will also host a pop-up shop on site that weekend for all Blackberry Farm guests.
And for more information on April’s collaboration, visit The Factory Café or contact office [at] alabamachanin.com. Find our new menu (featuring Blackberry Farm recipes and ingredients) below.
All photos courtesy of beall + thomas photography.