MEET OUR EXECUTIVE CHEF/DIRECTOR OF CULINARY OPERATIONS, STEPHEN BARBER

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

Expanding our offerings of Long Meadow Ranch branded products, utilizing our fruits, vegetables, wine, olive oil, and grass-fed beef. We just finalized our retail Farmstead bacon as well. It will be available in a couple weeks. We are currently making a special run of organic strawberry jam for our LMR Corral Club members. Then we have our sights set on packaging our grass-fed beef bone broth.

WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LMR?

“I’ll have the burger and a glass of Long Meadow Ranch Cab”. Our servers must hear some version of this about 100 times a day. But did you know? 1) That burger is from our own herd of humanely raised grass-fed beef. We only serve the beef we raise. That means we are responsible for utilizing the entire animal. 2) Those pickles come from our farm. We process and pickle up to 50 gallons of cucumbers every summer. In the winter we switch over to pickled cauliflower. 3) Those crispy potatoes started with our draft horses cultivating the land and shaping the beds. We average 20,000 pounds a year for the restaurant and farmers market. Oh, and that housemade potato bun…You can guess where those potatoes came from. 4) Would you like a sunny side up organic egg on that? Our flock of 300 chickens produce the most amazing bright yellow school bus yolk anyone could wish for. These yolks also make the base of our house made mustard. 5) That ketchup is made from our early girl tomatoes. We plant over an acre of heirloom tomatoes every year. 6) The grapes that went into that cabernet where picked by the same crew that helped our full time farm team plant the potatoes. By cross utilization of our vineyard crew and olive oil operation we are able to maintain our teams year round. This is an example of one dish on our menu. When you come to farmstead and have a burger, you are experiencing the culmination of many teams working together to achieve the vision that Ted, Laddie and Chris Hall have for Long Meadow Ranch.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST WORK-RELATED SUCCESS?

Helping to foster a culture that attracts and retains, talented passionate people. We have a great group of professionals here and we feed off each others energy and learn from each other.

WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR FUNNIEST MOMENTS?

Probably the stage performance at BottleRock last year. With the help of a rock band and a well known plastic surgeon, we butchered a whole pig with a sawzall and then made sausage. You can imagine the commentary.

WHO’S BEEN ONE OF YOUR MOST INFLUENTIAL MENTORS?

Chef John Currence. John was the first chef I worked for, and gave me a chance at City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi. I learned a tremendous amount from him.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN CULINARY?

Gaining an understanding of classic technique is essential whether you go to school or learn on the job. Read, read, read and put yourself in a position where you can practice what you are learning and continue to grow.

IF YOU COULD ENJOY A MEAL WITH ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?

Most definitely my father. He passed away 17 years ago. I know he would approve of where my career has taken me. We would start off with a good glass of Bourbon!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PROJECT SINCE WORKING WITH LMR?

Developing our own charcuterie and country ham. I spent some time with one of the countries best country ham producers Sam Edwards, of Edwards Country Ham in Surry, Virginia. Sam was kind enough to show me his operation and what it takes to make a good country ham. I took a lot of notes and over the last several years we have put up about 20 hams.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF OUR LIVE FIRE GUEST CHEF DINNER SERIES?

The Live Fire Guest Chef series has been a blast! We get to collaborate with some of the countries best chefs and cook over live fire in our outdoor kitchen. The guest chefs have a ton of fun, and our culinary team learns a great deal. It is also an opportunity to work with ingredients we may not use much here. Our dinner guests get a one of a kind experience.