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As part of the successful Long Meadow Ranch Live Fire Guest Chef Series, we gathered on Aug. 16 for an exciting culinary experience.

Long Meadow Ranch executive chef Stephen Barber and his team were joined by the Blackberry Farm team, headed by Chef Cassidee Dabney and her acclaimed team.

Blackberry Farm was established more than 40 years ago in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and has managed to become a haven for Southern hospitality and a word-class destination.

The farm counts with a number of luxurious accommodations, endless activities and of course top-notch food and beverage options that have elevated the destination as a must-try.

Dabney’s culinary career has taken her from the New England Culinary Institute to Germany, Boston, Atlanta, Hawaii, Arkansas and Wyoming working mostly with the Four Seasons Group. In 2010, she joined the Blackberry Farm and in 2015 she was promoted to executive sous chef of the Barn, which has been awarded by the James Beard Foundation in a couple occasions.

Long Meadow Ranch is the brainchild of the Hall Family who have proven to be exemplary caretakers of this historical property. The Ranch has grown over the years into 2,000 acres dedicated to grapes, olives, fruits, vegetables and livestock. Long Meadow Ranch, under Chris Hall’s leadership, always working on the future while consciously focusing on sustainability and extending into philanthropic ventures.

The beverage options for the evening included the Long Meadow Ranch wines alongside Blackberry Farm Brewery ales that made for an unforgettable party.

The menu showcased a range of smoked, roasted and seared meats, fish and poultry accompanied by gracefully prepared, house-grown vegetables.

The reception included small bites composed of caviar and cheese and pimento cheese served on pork rinds with pickles, served with the crisp and citrusy 2018 Long Meadow Ranch Rosè of Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley and the refreshing Blackberry Farm Classic Saison.

After the walk-around reception, the more than 100 guests took time to wander around the chefs’ arrangements where they cooked on a open fire.

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The family-style dinner served on a number of long tables sparked joyful conversations amongst the guests who included chefs from throughout California, and wine and food enthusiasts from throughout the United States.

The first course consisted of a beautifully arranged “Perfect Tomato Salad” with smoked buttermilk aioli, sunflower seeds, smoked onion and organic vegetables. A dreamy roasted beets and pecan butter dish. Corn and chanterelle with bee balm pickled cucumbers and oregano and an unforgettable Laurel Aged Rice & Crab with fennel and bergamot that was simply to die for.

For the pairings, we enjoyed the zippy and floral 2018 Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford and the toasty and balanced 2016 Long Meadow Ranch Chardonnay from Anderson Valley.

The celebration continued with a festival of main courses paired with a selection of beers that danced around the tables, including the Blackberry Farm Belgian Style Ale, Goat Hill Golden Ale, American Pale Ale, Yallarhammer Pale Ale and the Kolsch Style — a flight that makes any beer lovers dreams come true. Some of the selections rarely seen outside of Tennessee according to Roy Milner, chief fermentation officer for Blackberry Farm.

The wine component included the elegant and complex 2016 Long Meadow Ranch Pinole Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley side by side with the aromatic and juicy 2014 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.

The parade of main dishes started with Grilled Spatchcock Chicken, Wild California King Salmon with greens and onion confit and the roasted Long Meadow Ranch Grass-Fed Beef Rib Eye, joined by smoked beets and horseradish all served alongside charred okra with spicy pepper pure and peanuts. Each dish was beautifully served and causes the conversation to stop to admire the aesthetics and aromas coming off the platters.

Desert was certainly a showstopper, the effortlessly delivering presentation of peaches and cream paired heavenly with the 2015 Long Meadow Ranch Late Harvest Chardonnay from Anderson Valley.

The list of previous guest chefs include Johan Jureskog from Rolf’s Kök in Stockholm in Sweden, local chef, Curtis de Fede from Miminashi and San Francisco’s Nopa Restaurant Chef Laurence Jossel.

Continuing the series, Long Meadow Ranch will feature Chef Howard Hanna from The Rieger in Kansas City, Missouri, with guest butcher Lou Fantasma from Paradise Locker Meats in Missouri, and special guest Alice Waters from Chez Panisse in Berkeley on Sept. 27.

Certainly an evening to remember, a big thank-you to the Long Meadow Ranch team. Cheers!

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Eduardo can be reached at eduardo@sakedrinker.com.

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