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— LAST BITE — Two minutes with… SEAN BROCK


The man behind Nashville restaurant Husk and a young chef of the year in the Elite Traveler Top 100, talks about heirloom ingredients and cuisine discipline


Q How would you describe your cuisine?


A A modern interpretation of southern food. It is a combination of looking ahead while respecting the past, and that is what I believe southern food to be. I am a preservationist – culture is as important as cuisine.


Q What is so special about heirloom ingredients?


A One of my responsibilities as a chef is to chase deliciousness and share it with guests. Plant varietals are a big part of it – older plants, before they were messed with and modifi ed genetically, had more fl avour and character. They were unique. To me, those seeds can tell several stories, maybe about a family, a particular cuisine or a region. They are bits of wisdom and, if we don’t continue to grow, cook, eat and talk about them, those stories and lessons will disappear. That is not how you preserve a culture. That is how a culture dwindles.


Q How do you develop as a chef?


A One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to pay attention to what is happening, to slow


down and think about it. Travel is a big part of where I pool infl uence from. Every piece of food I eat will infl uence something I cook along the way.


Q You use only southern ingredients – does that limit you?


A It pushes you to become a better chef. We need those


limitations and discipline. It is tempting to buy ingredients from all


over the world because they are delicious. But I want to put limitations on myself so I can


feel the experience of cooking in a particular spot, on a particular day. And I want my guests to feel and experience what it is like to eat there.


Q Is cooking a vocation?


A There are two parts to it: the technical aspect and the artistic aspect. You have to be a craftsman, you have to thrive and geek out about technique and precision and discipline. You also need to be an artist with spontaneity, freedom and creativity.


Q Is there a greater purpose to your cooking?


A Yes. I want people to be as passionate as I am about food, eating and cooking. It is the most beautiful way in which to bring people together and share experiences.


Q What are your thoughts on the US food scene? A We are all starting to cook with ingredients that


are raised properly to have tonnes of fl avour and nutrition, and that is making our lives easier because everything starts with the quality of products. We are becoming more educated – younger farmers do more exciting things and people are bringing back old plant varieties and animal breeds. America is starting to come into its own. We can say: “This is Californian cuisine” or: “This is what it is like to cook in New York City.”


Q What is your favourite food destination?


A I am obsessed with Japanese culture. The


discipline, perfection, care and respect that goes into everything – it makes me very happy.


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For more go to foodserviceconsultant.org


DAN MURRELL


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