Chef Sean Brock loves local farms so much that he has his favorite vegetables tattooed on his arm.
And it doesn't stop with body art: Brock's adoration for local ingredients has been at the forefront of his menu at McCrady's, one of Charleston's oldest restaurants. There, the recent James Beard Award winner updated traditional Southern flavors with contemporary techniques (his sous-vide duck breast was of the more memorable things we've eaten this year), so that each of his dishes is a careful balance of old and new.
But it's the ingredients that are the driving force behind his new restaurant, Husk, which opens this fall.
The 130-seat restaurant will be housed in a restored mansion built in the early 1800s, but don't expect the white linens and primped dishes of McCrady's. Husk will be a more classic Southern-dining experience, including skillets of cornbread at the tables and cocktails served on the building's porch. "I want it to be the most Southern restaurant there is," says Brock.
That effort starts on the farm: Brock has been tending to a three-acre garden in the midst of Thornhill Farms, where he focuses on seed saving and cultivating heirloom and antebellum crops that are indigenous to the area and at risk of dying out. He is also in the process of breeding a special cross of heritage pigs with Bev Eggleston of Eco-Friendly farms, which they'll dub "Brockawadabaw."
And it's not just the ingredients that will highlight the South; Husk's menu (which will change daily based on the farm's harvest) will resurrect the region's historic recipes, like "Beaten Biscuits," which dates back from before baking powder was used.
This is one history lesson we can't wait to learn.