Following the success of having two of Charleston’s best restaurants, winning a James Beard Award and becoming one of the South’s most notable chefs, Sean Brock has now brought his culinary skills to Music City. Set in an historic 19th-century home in Rutledge Hill, Husk Nashville prepares Sean’s distinct creations, made with a fresh interpretation of Tennessee ingredients, crops and farms. We caught up with Sean to hear more about his foray into Nashville.
What led you to open a second Husk and why Nashville?
The idea of Husk is to help change the way people view Southern food. We decided that we wanted to reach more people. The theory of Husk can work in any city in the South. Having lived and cooked in Nashville, I knew it would be a perfect fit. I love Nashville, it’s a really exciting place to be right now. The city is growing culturally at an amazing rate.
How will Husk Nashville be different from Husk Charleston?
Nashville will pull inspiration from a more inland South. Charleston’s history and its proximity to the water makes it quite easy to pull inspiration from the Lowcountry. Nashville has certainly been more vegetable-focused.
It seems clear that you’re not just trying to feed people, but help them have a greater appreciation for food, the land and growing seasons.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a garden. I was able to see food in a different way at a very young age. That perspective gave me a deep respect and appreciation that I want more people to experience. It changes the way you eat. It changes you as a consumer. If you watched the carrot grow from a seedling or perhaps you are friends with the person who grew the carrot, you cook with more care and you eat a bit slower.
What developed your passion for wood-fire cooking and the “low and slow” approach?
It all goes back to Southern BBQ and soul food. Using the flavor of wood provides a type of comfort, especially if you were raised in the South. There is something about that smell and flavor that is nostalgic. Cooking low and slow is a gentle and caring way to cook. We like to take our time in the South.
It seems we’ve come a long way as far as understanding where our food comes from, how animals are treated, appreciating local farms and markets – what do you think we still need more people to know and embrace?
We sure have come a long way! I love the conversations I have with diners these days. People are very interested in food and where it comes from. One of the things that concerns me is our fascination with fast food in America. We seem to not fully understand the impact that it has on agriculture. And not to mention our health.
As you’ve been developing Husk here, what are some things about Nashville that you’ve learned to love?
I am head-over-heals in love with Nashville. It’s full of amazing places and people who are fully embracing the city and its unique culture. Some of my favorite places are Imogene + Willie, Parlour and Juke, Robert’s, Arnold’s, City House, Capitol Grille, Catbird Seat, No. 308, Hermitage Café, Prince’s Hot Chicken, Billy Reid, The Nashville Farmer’s Market, Peter Nappi, Barista Parlor, Crema, Hatch Show Print, the list could go on and on. Nashville is amazing.