Sean Brock

Locations: Charleston, SC and Nashville, TN
Restaurants: Husk, Husk Nashville, McCrady's, Minero
Book/Show: Heritage (Artisan, $40)
Awards/Accolades: Winner 2010 James Beard Best Chef Southeast

If the South's crops were to (heaven forfend!) disappear overnight, all eyes would turn to Sean Brock to replenish them. The Appalachian-raised chef and author has made it his life's work to exalt the heirloom foods that make Southern cuisine so special and distance it from the decades when inferior ingredients threatened to dumb it down. Not only do both Husk restaurants serve only products from the region, Brock has a personal collection of seeds that includes 300 varieties of corn, 500 kinds of beans and much more. 2014's Heritage doubled as both cookbook and a manifesto for cultural preservation by way of mouth.

Follow Brock's lead and make Brown Oyster Stew, Juniper-Rubbed Duck Breast, and Plum and Tomato Salad.

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