New York — Sean Brock of McCrady's restaurant is the third Charleston chef in five years to win the James Beard Foundation's award for Best Chef Southeast.
Brock, who is opening a second restaurant in Charleston in the fall that will serve only Southern food products, credited the community's support of restaurants and the McCrady's team with helping him succeed.
He said that McCrady's and the foods available in the South allowed him to do his best cooking. Brock's passion for Southern produce has led him to become a farmer as well, finding and growing heirloom seeds, assisted by Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills and David Shields of the University of South Carolina. The heirlooms, including sesame seeds and 'rice peas,' are part of an effort to duplicate the original flavors that made Southern food an important American cuisine.
Although Brock was a nominee in 2008 and 2009 for Best Rising Star Chef, this is the first year he was nominated for the top regional award.
Winning it the first year is a coup for any chef; most are nominated several times before they win.
It's also a coup for Charleston, positioning it as a major food city, with so many of its chefs winning in such a short period of years. Previous Charleston winners of the Best Chef Southeast are Mike Lata of Fig and Bob Stehling of Hominy Grill.
2010 James Beard restaurant and chef award winners
The winners of the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards for restaurants and chefs include:
-- Best New Restaurant
Marea in New York (chef-owner Michael White)
-- Outstanding Chef Award
Tom Colicchio of Craft in New York
-- Outstanding Pastry Chef Award
Nicole Plue of Redd in Yountville, Calif.
-- Outstanding Restaurant Award
Daniel in New York (chef-owner Daniel Boulud)
-- Outstanding Restaurateur Award
Keith McNally of Balthazar, Lucky Strike, Minetta Tavern, Morandi, Pastis, Pravda and Schiller's Liquor Bar
-- Outstanding Service Award
Alinea in Chicago (chef-owner Grant Achatz)
-- Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award
John Shafer and Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards in Napa, Calif.
-- Outstanding Wine Service Award
Jean Georges in New York (wine director Bernard Sun)
-- Rising Star Chef of the Year Award
Timothy Hollingsworth of The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.
-- Great Lakes
Koren Grieveson of Avec in Chicago
Jeff Michaud of Osteria in Philadelphia
Alexander Roberts of Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis
-- New York City
Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park
Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier of Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine
Jason Wilson of Crush in Seattle
David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif.
Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Miami
Sean Brock of McCrady's in Charleston, S.C.
Claude Le Tohic of Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas