Many chefs have their first exposure to cooking at a young age. For Sean Brock, who was born and raised in a Virginia coalfield town with no restaurants or stop lights, it was the experience of his family growing and preserving their own food that left a deep impression.
Many chefs have their first exposure to cooking at a young age. For Sean Brock, who was born and raised in a Virginia coalfield town with no restaurants or stop lights, it was the experience of his family growing and preserving their own food that left a deep impression. This ignited lifelong passion for exploring the roots of Southern food, and recreating its bygone cuisine through the preservation of heirloom ingredients.
Brock attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC before starting his professional career under Chef Robert Carter at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston. Two years later, he moved to Richmond, VA to work for Chef Walter Bundy of Lemaire Restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel, where his success quickly led him to promotions within the Elite Hospitality Group. In 2003 at age 25, Brock was named executive chef at Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, TN, where he remained for the next three years.
In 2006, Brock returned to Charleston to join the Neighborhood Dining Group and take the helm at McCrady’s Restaurant. There Brock created inventive and refined Southern cuisine that helped thrust Charleston’s dining scene into the national limelight. He also developed a 2.5-acre farm on Wadmalaw Island, where he experimented resurrecting and growing crops at risk of extinction, especially those indigenous to the Lowcountry pre-Civil War. Brock has since become a relentless advocate for seed preservation and remains dedicated to the rediscovery of antebellum cuisine and the revival of the Southern pantry. He diligently studies 19th century Southern cookbooks--which he also collects—to educate himself on Southern food history.
In November 2010, Brock opened his second restaurant with the Neighborhood Dining Group, Husk. Just down the street from McCrady’s, Husk is a celebration of Southern ingredients, solely serving food that is indigenous to the South. The emphasis at Husk is on local farmers and purveyors while using tried-and-true techniques of seed-saving, heirloom husbandry, in-house pickling, and charcuterie programs on a menu that changes twice daily. In September 2011, Bon Appétit magazine crowned Husk “The Best New Restaurant in America”.
Brock and the Neighborhood Dining Group opened a second location of Husk in Nashville in 2013, which was named one of the Best New Restaurants of the year by both GQ and Esquire. Third and fourth locations of Husk have opened in Greenville, SC and Savannah, GA.
In 2014, Brock opened Minero, a restaurant inspired by the flavors and culture of Mexico through the lens of Southern ingredients. A second location of Minero opened the following year at Ponce City Market in Atlanta.
In 2016, Brock reinvented McCrady’s. In the former McCrady’s location, he unveiled McCrady’s Tavern, a lively everyday gathering place serving reimagined American Classics. In the adjacent building, McCrady’s became a 22-seat, tasting menu only restaurant featuring exceptional hospitality and an open kitchen.
In 2010, Brock won the James Beard award for “Best Chef Southeast” and is a four-time finalist for “Outstanding Chef”. He has appeared on “Iron Chef America”, and hosted season two of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Mind of a Chef” on PBS. His first cookbook, Heritage (Artisan Books), was released in October 2014, and is a New York Times bestseller and recipient of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Book Award for “American Cooking”. After being diagnosed with autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis in 2015, Brock has become an ambassador for the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. He divides his time between Charleston and Nashville.
Learn more about Sean Brock on the Husk Website