Sean Brock | Chefs | PBS Food

Sean Brock

headshot of chef Sean Brock, standing in a field

Born and raised in rural Virginia, Sean Brock knew nature from an early age. When he wasn’t helping to grow everything his family ate, he was cooking, preserving, and learning a deep respect for the cultivation of flavor at its most basic roots.

The culture of food deeply ingrained in him, Brock took his passion to Johnson & Wales, and then his first job as a chef tournant under Robert Carter at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. From there, Brock moved back to Virginia to work at the five-star Jefferson Hotel before being promoted to the Hermitage Hotel in Tennessee. He honed his skills for three more years before returning to Charleston and an executive chef position at McCrady’s.

What distinguished McCrady’s wasn’t just the chef’s well seasoned Low Country palate. Brock founded a 2 1⁄2 acre farm on Wadmalaw Island, growing heirloom and often endangered seeds (some from the Antebellum era) and giving his diners the immediate field-to-table experience he’d enjoyed as a child. (He’s since gone compact with a 1 1⁄2 acre heritage garden in nearby McClellanville.) Brock emphasized historic techniques, practicing low-and-slow fireplace cooking (appropriate for McCrady’s 19th century setting). In 2010, Brock went even farther with the opening of Husk, where indigenous products and seasonal availability dictate the changing menu.

Brock’s abilities have resulted in a number of awards and accolades, both locally and nationally. He was nominated in 2008 and 2009 for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef” award and in 2009 and 2010 for the James Beard “Best Chef Southeast” category, winning the award in 2010. Most recently, he was nominated for the James Beard “Outstanding Chef” award for 2012. He wasthe winner of the “Next Great Chef” episode of the “Food Network Challenge” and appeared on “Iron Chef America” in December 2010, taking on Michael Symon in “Battle Pork Fat.” Bon Appétitmagazine named Husk “Best New Restaurant in America” in September 2011. Later that year, Chef Brock joined an exclusive group of chefs from around the world in Japan to take part in the prestigious Cook It Raw.

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