SEAN BROCK


Sean Brock, Executive Chef of McCrady’s Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, is passionate about food and its ingredients in a way that few can imagine. One dining experience is all it takes, however, for even culinary novices to appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication that he brings to his work.

His Style
His creative and unique culinary style blends the classic Southern ingredients and preparations he learned from his grandmother with techniques that are truly on the forefront of modern dining. “Food should be a treat for the emotions as well as the palate,” says Brock, “at once comforting, exciting, and entertaining. We like to surprise and delight our guests with familiar flavors presented in unexpected ways.”

Brock has deep respect for his ingredients. “They all have value and contribute to a dish equally,” he says with commitment, “whether widely available and inexpensive or rare and dear.” His unwavering devotion to the freshest ingredients has led him to work directly with scores of small-scale farmers and suppliers to get the very best. He favors simple preparations that let these ingredients shine through, and values consistency perhaps above all else.

Brock was trained in classical technique at Johnson & Wales, but uses the newest discoveries of modern food science to add new tools and options. By studying and understanding ingredients at the molecular level, he and others inspired by Spanish chef Ferran Adria can achieve astonishing results. He is a proponent of sous vide, a cutting edge cooking method that uses vacuum to allow precise control of the cooking process (to within one-tenth of a degree) while at the same time capturing all of the natural flavors of the components.

His Background
His move in April, 2006 to McCrady’s marked something of a homecoming for Brock. Although he had previously been the Executive Chef at Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel and its fine dining restaurant The Capitol Grille, he began his culinary career in Charleston.

Born and raised in Wise, Virginia, Brock was introduced to cooking as a young boy at his grandmother’s elbow. She taught him a deep appreciation for the value of fresh ingredients as he gathered honey from the beehive in the backyard and worked daily in the family garden. By the age of 10, he was preparing Sunday dinner for the family.

At 16, Brock got his first opportunity to cook in a professional kitchen during a busy day at the restaurant where he washed dishes. After he graduated from high school, and knowing with certainty that all he wanted to do was cook, Brock moved to Charleston to attend Johnson & Wales University. Putting his full effort into his studies, he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1999. Brock began his professional culinary career as Chef Tournant under highly regarded Chef Robert Carter at the acclaimed Peninsula Grill, one of Charleston’s finest restaurants. Even with Carter as his mentor, working in the busy kitchen of a restaurant with such high expectations was an intense learning experience for Brock.

Two years later, in 2001, he was appointed Executive Sous Chef under Chef Walter Bundy at the five-diamond Lemaire Restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. His success in Richmond led to his promotion in 2003 to Executive Chef at the newly remodeled five-diamond Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, where he was responsible for both the fine dining restaurant and the hotel’s catering, room service and daily dining operations.

His Accolades and Accomplishments
Brock, now 27, has a long list of accomplishments and accolades to his credit, including two dinners for the James Beard Foundation, a feature on the Food Network, numerous glowing reviews and local awards, and apprenticeships with acclaimed chefs.
Reopened the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville after a 17 million dollar renovation
Achieved the AAA Five Diamond award in the first year of operation at Hermitage
Achieved the Mobil Four Star award in 2005 at Capitol Grille, one of only eight restaurants added
Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille restaurant included in Gourmet Magazine’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants 2004”
Named Nashville’s Best Chef by the Nashville Scene Food Critic Kay West
Featured on the Television Food Network.
Prepared two dinners for the James Beard Foundation
Prepared the annual national Relais and Chateaux dinner
Assisted with the opening of The Club at Hammock Beach in Florida and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, SC.

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