Sean Brock

Chef, Restaurateur

Charleston

In his relatively short career, Charleston’s Sean Brock has become one of the most important chefs in the country. As executive chef and owner at both McCrady’s and Husk, the James Beard Award-winning chef is a leader in the movement to preserve and restore traditional Southern heirloom ingredients. The rural Virginia native grew up in a family that farmed, cooked, canned and preserved, and those practices have been ingrained in Brock ever since. His restaurants preach and teach Southern ingredients and traditions, and the menu at Husk focuses solely on foods indigenous to the region. Brock is also a passionate advocate for seed saving and grows a number of heirloom crops. He opened his second Husk location — this time in Nashville — which focuses on hearth and ember cooking, as well as local Tennessee vegetables, meat and threes, and hot chicken sandwiches. Brock is also writing his first cookbook, which is expected out next spring.

  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What does Sean Brock wear when he travels?

    I travel with lots of clothing. I travel with T-shirts and denim, which is also the comfortable side of things. But I’m also obsessed with Billy Reid clothing. I always have lots of shirts to choose from and jackets, shoes and hats.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What is Sean Brock’s favorite airline?

    Oh, I’m die-hard Delta. Gold Medallion status. Once you get into Gold Medallion, they treat you like a king. And once you start getting treated that way and you start sitting in first class and boarding first, it’s so hard to travel another airline. Delta really takes care of its frequent flyers.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    Who does Sean Brock always travel with?

    I have a guy on my team, Daniel Heinze. He’s been a chef at McCrady’s for six years, and he goes with me everywhere. We have our systems down, we travel well together, we’re good friends and it’s great. I’m very lucky to have a travel companion.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What does Sean Brock bring back from his travels?

    I’m a condiment guy. Any time I can find something jarred or pickled, or a jar of something that’s regional, that’s what I like collecting. There’s always something like that. I just unpacked from a trip to Richmond, and there’s a bag of cornmeal and a specific variety of corn. Anytime I travel somewhere — whether it’s Chicago, San Francisco or anywhere in the world — I’m always looking for a record shop. I collect a lot of vinyl, and I just love finding tiny little strange record stores.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What does Sean Brock always travel with?

    I always take one cookbook, just one. Take too many and you lose track. It’s always whichever one I need to be reading or I’m excited about reading. But the key is to just take just one so I can focus on it. I always take portable speakers and my iPod. I’ll have a panic attack if I forget those. And always, always, always a flask of good bourbon. My favorite bourbon is the 15-year-old, 107-proof Pappy Van Winkle. I always have to have my MacBook Pro and a notebook with me.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite restaurants?

    Well I really like Craw in San Francisco. I really like all the Momofuku restaurants. I really like this place in New York City called Mas La Grillade. I don’t know why it doesn’t get more attention. It’s just the simple restaurant where everything is cooked over embers or live fires — everything. It’s crazy simple but really, really good. I always eat at this restaurant in New York called Arirang. It’s a Korean restaurant, my favorite Korean place. I love Cochon in New Orleans. That restaurant makes me super, super happy. I love Holeman & Finch and Empire State South in Atlanta. I found this new restaurant in Nashville that I’m crazy about, Rolf and Daughters, and it’s crazy good. I ate there three nights in a row last week. I love Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I love Relae in Copenhagen. That’s a restaurant that intrigues me, and I really look forward to eating there. That’s a pretty good list.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite hotels?

    The Ace. I stay there so much that I don’t even have to tell them my name. The bellmen know me, the bartenders, the front desk, the room service. And that cheeseburger is unbelievable. It’s probably the best cheeseburger in the world. That’s one of the reason I love it. They know that I like the room service. They know what I like to eat. They know the cocktails I like. They’re always sending me flowers and gifts, and any time there’s a menu change, they slide a menu under my door. It’s the coolest damn hotel in the world. In the rooms, there’s always guitars I love to play. There’s always a record player.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite cities?

    I like Tokyo a lot. I like Copenhagen a lot. I like Paris an awful lot. I’m getting ready to go to Africa in a couple weeks. West Africa, Senegal. I’m getting ready to go to Melbourne, Australia. I’m pretty excited about that. My favorite place in the entire world is New York City. I go there at least once a month.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite Charleston hotels?

    I have to constantly get hotels for all my visitors and businesses, and it’s always Charleston Place. It’s perfectly centrally located with beautiful rooms, and it’s not terribly expensive. And they have a great restaurant.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite Charleston bars?

    I never ever venture away from my two watering holes: The Griffon and The Gin Joint. If I have to, I like this place called the Tattooed Moose, and I like The Belmont. They make fantastic cocktails. The bar at Fig restaurant has amazing cocktails. And there’s another dive bar when I’m feeling really rowdy and feel like getting into trouble called Big John’s Tavern.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite Charleston brunch spots?

    Hominy Grill is amazing. It’s absolutely amazing. I love that place so much. I would say that’s my favorite. I know it’s terrible to say, but Husk has the most amazing brunch. It’s completely over the top.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite Charleston neighborhoods?

    I like to hang out on Wadmalaw Island the most. I actually consider that a neighborhood, but it’s really a lot of farmland, farms and farmers. And you know those are the kinds of people I like to go drink beers with. It is a lot of fun.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite Charleston restaurants?

    Two Boroughs Larder is my absolute favorite. I really like Fig. And I love The Glass Onion in West Ashley. Rutledge Cab Company just opened, and it’s my kind of restaurant. It’s really, really cool. And I love Martha Lou’s Kitchen. It’s my favorite soul place.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What’s Sean Brock’s favorite time of the year in Charleston?

    I think late spring. First, there’s the really beautiful vegetables: English peas, asparagus. Around that time, we also have soft-shell crabs, so it’s really just a wonderful time to eat out and do social things. But there’s also this sort of energy in the kitchen. Everybody is excited about cooking green things and more fruits and vegetables. That’s my favorite, and the weather is just perfect. It’s absolutely perfect.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Sean Brock answered the question: Sean Brock

    What are Sean Brock’s favorite things to do in Charleston?

    1. Go to Bowens Island and eat oysters. That’s a really cool thing.

    2. Have margaritas at the Surf Bar on Folly Beach and walk out to the lighthouse and hang out.

    3. I think for me, some sort of bird hunting, like duck or quail.

    4. Well, obviously eating at Husk and McCrady’s.

    5. I think just seeing some sort of historical-driven tour to really see the city and understand the history. I think that’s really fun. A lot of people think it’s really cheesy, and it’s not. I think it’s very, very cool and informative. We have some fantastic tour guides in town, and you always learn these really cool things about the city and its history.

    6. I love hanging out at this place called The Gin Joint. They make really fantastic cocktails. And there’s a dive bar I love called The Griffon.