Meet Chef Brock of Husk, Charleston’s Champion of Southern Food
Husk Restaurant is dubbed a celebration of southern ingredients. I think you live in a cave if you haven’t heard about Husk’s James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock and his abilities to bring those southern ingredients together with aplomb. Media loves him and I have heard first-hand from friends about his culinary talents. But it was seeing him enjoy another chef’s talents that confirmed to me that I must get to Charleston to try this champion of the south’s cuisine.
I saw Chef Brock on The Layover in Atlanta with Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain and Brock visit Holeman and Finch for charcuterie and the famous hand-crafted 10 o’clock burger prepared by Chef Linton Hopkins. It was so interesting to hear Chef Brock talking about the food and the chefs of the south with Bourdain while enjoying his friend Chef Hopkin’s fare. His views are solid on the topic.
At Husk there are some rules about what can go on the plate. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says Brock, who has even stricken olive oil from the kitchen. As he explains, the resulting cuisine “is not about rediscovering Southern cooking, but exploring the reality of Southern food.”
I look forward to February 8 when I visit Husk Restaurant for dinner with friends to celebrate southern ingredients in person.
Enjoy my Q&A with Chef Brock-
Five ingredients always in your pantry:
Joe Trapp’s Sorghum
Dried Heirloom Beans
Do you cook at home? And if so, what?
I cook at home a lot. My mother lives and Charleston and its our favorite thing to do together. We cook a lot of old hillbilly style stuff like killed lettuce and poke fritters. We make chicken and dumplings a lot and always cornbread!!
Where is a culinary travel destination for you and why?
Japan, hands down. My trip there changed my life. The culture is so amazing there. I really saw a different way of looking at things and a different level of refinement and attention to detail. Food is so respected in Japan. That trip really made me think. Oh yeah, and the food is so delicious!
What are your go-to popular items you like to serve at a cocktail party?
I love doing vegetable based drinks depending on what’s in season. Celery cocktails are my favorite. One thing I like to do is set out 5 or 6 different bottles of bourbon from my collection along with 15 or 20 different kinds of bitters and let people mix and match. You would be surprised how many fantastic cocktails are invented this way.
Sweet and Savory – name your favorite dishes for each.
Easy! Chicken and Dumplings and sorghum apple stack cake
What do you like to do outside of cooking?
I love collecting and reading old cookbooks. I also love listening to old vinyl and playing my vintage guitars.
What would you want for your last meal?
A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old Bourbon and a skillet of real cornbread cooked by Mama. Some ramps sautéed with country ham and potatoes cooked by Sharon and Alan Benton. A pile of fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch house and a Holeman and Finch cheeseburger. Can I also get some steak frites? And what about some BBQ cooked by the fatback collective? And then an over the top banana split to seal the deal. And if there is room, some chicken and dumplings and some of my grandma’s wild goose beans.