As Executive Chef at Blackberry Farm from 1992 until 2007, Fleer helped establish the unique “foothills cuisine,” which wandered the line between refined and rugged, fancy and familiar. Under Fleer’s leadership, the Tennessee destination was honored by Zagat Survey in 2003 and 2004 as #1 Small Hotel in America and #2 Hotel Dining in America.
In 2009, John took his first step back across the Blue Ridge from Tennessee, to open Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers. Fleer left Canyon Kitchen in the summer of 2015 to devote his time to Rhubarb.
Rhubarb, which opened its doors in October of 2013, is the next step in Fleer’s journey. He brings the relaxed atmosphere of his previous pastoral posts to bustling Pack Square, broadening his approach with a freestyle American cuisine well suited for its location at Asheville’s vibrant crossroad. In 2015, Fleer added a private event space to the Rhubarb family, providing an opportunity to host workshops, cooking classes, and private events. Shortly thereafter, The Rhu opened its doors, as Rhubarb’s companion bakery, café, and pantry.