Sean Brock: The Chef of the South
McCrady’s and Husk have got a lot in common: they’re two of the most highly regarded restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina, both earning a spot on The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America list for 2013, and both focusing on regional Southern food. But would you believe, with all the notoriety, that they’re both under the direction of the same executive chef?
Sean Brock is that chef: A James Beard Award winner who’s trained and worked all across the South, he grew up in a rural town in Virginia where his family raised and grew just about all of their food. That kind of upbringing prepared him for a culinary career centered around fresh, authentic Southern ingredients. Farm-to-table cooking and locally sourced food have often been focal points of Brock’s career. In fact, he even built his own 2.5-acre farm on Wadmalaw Island to enable him to grow heirloom and endangered plants, and even sometimes raise his own pigs, according to his biography on Husk’s website.
“Low and slow” cooking is also a central tenet of Brock’s culinary philosophy. At both McCrady’s and Husk, he imparts this technique in the menus, which feature only indigenous Southern ingredients. At Husk, furthermore, the menu changes by the seasons to reflect what’s available in the Low Country.
Chef Brock’s whole career so far has been spent in the American South, and there couldn’t be anything more appropriate for someone as wholly into Southern food as he. Recently, he was involved in the opening of the Nashville outpost of Husk, and currently, he’s working on a cookbook due out later this year. He resides in his home outside Charleston with his wife and two dogs.