Virginia-born Sean Brock, chef-partner of Charleston’s McCrady’s and Husk takes southern food seriously. As in the traditions of eating what grows close at hand and preserving what you can’t use right away, of raising pigs and cooking up classics like shrimp and grits but with shrimp caught not far away and corn grits from Anson Mills (which specializes in heirloom crops).
Respecting the classics yet making his food something very new, Brock grabbed the attention of eaters and critics alike. With a menu that changes daily, depending on what’s fresh and ready to roll, you might find a cornmeal-dusted catfish with fennel and housemade chowchow, or slow-smoked Tennessee pork ribs, stone fruit barbecue, candied benne, and puffed pork skins.Brock was voted Best Chef Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, and Husk was voted best new restaurant of 2011 by Bon Appétit.
Brock’s cooking career, after graduation from Charleston’s Johnson & Wales University, led him around the South, from Charleston’s Peninsula Grill to Richmond’s Lemaire Restaurant, to Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel. Back in Charleston, he became executive chef of McCrady’s and began growing old varieties of indigenous crops (such as Flint corn and benne seed) and raising a herd of pigs. He started cooking over an open hearth and working with producers who shared his reverence for the heirloom and the artisan-made. He’s an advocate for humanely raised pork, with his Fatback Collective. And yet, he says, the most important dish of his life is his mom’s chicken and dumplings, “a perfect example of how amazing southern home cooks are at intuition and cooking by feeling.”
On deck for Brock, the opening of additional Husk locations, in Greenville, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.