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Southern food, reinvented

(article, Culinate staff)

Last week's issue of the New Yorker featured a Burkhard Bilger profile of Sean Brock, the executive chef of two restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina: the formal McCrady's and the down-home Husk. 

What's special about Brock? He's a Slow Food kind of guy; he not only prepares authentic (and threatened) traditional Southern foods in inventive ways, but he also grows them himself. As the New Yorker blurb puts it:

bq. In Brock’s kitchens, breeds like the Ossabaw pig are just the beginning of a grand culinary reclamation project — a painstaking revival of what was once America’s greatest cuisine, all but lost in the twentieth century. In the past few years, Brock and a small group of local historians, plant geneticists, and farmers have reintroduced dozens of heirloom greens and grains, many of them untasted since the eighteen-hundreds. Brock’s restaurants are like cleverly argued revisionist histories: they appeal to your nostalgia while reversing your expectations. . . . At Husk, Brock is re-creating what Southern food once was. At McCrady’s, he’s showing what it could be.