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 2½ 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 1½ 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.
Unsurprisingly, Brock has been showered with nominations and awards—including several nominations from James Beard, followed by a win in 2010 for “Best Chef Southeast.” In 2011, Bon Appetit named Husk “Best New Restaurant in America,” and that same year Brock was selected to join the exclusive group of chefs participating in Cook It Raw.