John Fleer

Credit: Johnny Autry

Chef-Owner of Rhubarb, The Rhu, and Benne on Eagle

Maker: Chef

A native of Winston-Salem, John Fleer was named one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century" by the James Beard Foundation and is a five-time finalist for the James Beard "Best Chef in the Southeast" award.

Inspired by the “culture of food” he experienced in Venice while a Religion and Philosophy major at Duke University, Fleer later enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. In 1992, Fleer joined the team at Blackberry Farm, where he served as Executive Chef until 2007.

At Rhubarb, Fleer brings the relaxed atmosphere of his previous pastoral posts to Pack Square, broadening his approach with a freestyle American cuisine well-suited for its location at Asheville’s vibrant crossroad. The restaurant is part of a full-building complex that includes adjacent sister café-bakery-pantry, The Rhu.

Fleer’s newest venture is Benne on Eagle, a restaurant that pays homage to the rich history of African-American culinary traditions that once thrived in The Block, the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant, decades ago. Working alongside Culinary Mentor Hanan Shabazz and Chef de Cuisine Ashleigh Shanti, John employs his penchant for utmost quality and warm hospitality known at his other Asheville concepts, and freshly applies it to Benne on Eagle.

Over the course of his career, Chef Fleer has served on various boards, most importantly as a member of the Board of Directors for the Southern Foodways Alliance from 2003-2009. When he’s not in the kitchen, you can find him on the soccer field or spending time with his wife and three sons.

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