Sean Brock’s wisdom is like his cooking: deep, with a Southern inflection. “Everything goes back to the dirt,” he says.
Contributing editor M. Linda Lee recently sat with the James Beard Award winner at Husk Greenville, Brock’s Upcountry location of his popular restaurant that celebrates Southern food. Sean’s authenticity and warmth belie his celebrity—he’s appeared as a featured chef on PBS’s Mind of a Chef series, and is chef/partner of the Neighborhood Dining Group, which owns eight restaurants across the Southeast. He lives mostly in Nashville, where he has a penchant for collecting guitar pedals, nineteenth-century cookbooks, and French bulldogs.
For Brock, food is more than a meal, more than just pieces and parts. To eat is not only an experience—it is transcendence, particularly when it comes to the flavors of home. Ingredients are historical markers, in the form of seeds. The food of our land is a key to time, not only defying it but defining it, as well.
“Seeds are the keepers of stories,” he says. “They carry the wisdom of hundreds of years. Seeds tell a story about a very particular place and period of time and a family. If those seeds don’t survive, that story is lost. Seeds allow us to stay connected.”
Sean Brock is a storyteller.
“I have found that the true breakthrough discoveries are in the spoken word, through sitting down with someone and asking them what they ate as a kid and what their grandma cooked. Food is the great connector,” Brock says.
As we sit with our friends and families this season, the chef’s philosophy comes into sharp clarity: the food we eat is the experience we live.
Blair Knobel, Editor-in-Chief
Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL