Truly it is no surprise that Sean Brock, the executive chef at McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina won the James Beard Award yesterday for the Best Chef in the Southeast. Congratulations Chef Brock! We are very excited for you and happy to call you our own.
Blackberry Farms is hosting Chef Brock at an upcoming function, and I submitted an essay to try and win tickets. Sadly, I did not win, but writing the essay was fun and it reminded just how much I love McCrady’s and the work of Chef Brock.
Here is my essay:
In the ninth hour of what should have been a seven hour trip, the family took the Charleston exit off of I-95 and decided to skip the parking lot of Thanksgiving traffic. Redirecting the car to a city that has always embodied only good memories, Charleston and McCrady’s beckoned us.
We (the family collective) followed Chef Sean Brock from the Food Network, to the pages of Garden and Gun and Food and Wine Magazine. As a result, the call placed to McCrady’s on that weary Sunday afternoon was magical, as we were happily told that yes, seating was available.
Walking down the alley towards the front entrance of McCrady’s, where gas light can be seen dancing on the walls, we were reminded of the Charleston of old, but the cordial greeting from Andre Guillet quickly returned us of the experience at hand. McCrady’s, simple by design is graced with the original brick walls of the old pub which once resided in this location and the smoke stains are proof. The stain glass covering the crescent seating illuminates diners and the dark wood gives heart to the soul of the food.
As a child in my family, we knew that even the simplest of meals, such as a grilled cheese, held the potential to be the best meal of your life. We were taught to believe that while food serves a purpose to sustain, it also creates love and builds relationships. Food was and is community.
Chef Sean Brock and McCrady’s understand this concept of community building. With every vegetable grown by the hands of employees, with each slab of beef purchased from a local grower, and even with each Tweet sent over the internet, community is built.
That Sunday evening of Thanksgiving weekend, McCrady’s provided an experience of great memory. It was more than the food, which was outstanding and lived up to every ounce of hype and more so. It was more than the stunning atmosphere and impeccable service. McCrady’s, under the culinary direction of Chef Sean Brock has established a complete dining experience unlike any other, in which the diner becomes a part of a much larger community, where we all give a little. This is world I am happy to live in and a table where I will always look forward to the memories.