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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

No James Beard Awards for Georgians this year

Chef Sean Brock

Chef Sean Brock

For the third year in a row, a Charleston chef took home the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Southeast — a region that encompasses Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas and West Virginia.

This year the award went to Sean Brock — the extremely talented young man behind the stove at McCrady’s Restaurant. I spent a day with Brock for a story I wrote about him for Food Arts magazine, and was impressed with his unique and uniquely fun style of cooking. I was also amazed by his boundless energy in undertaking various food projects. He farms and raises a lot of his own produce biodynamically, he raises pigs, he cures meats, he imports and packages culinary chemicals (for advanced culinary techniques, such as spherification) and he has become deeply involved in seed saving — sourcing and cataloging heirloom varieties of beans, peas, corn and farro. I can see why he won.

Yet Brock’s win leaves Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten — both perennial nominees — without awards. Both men have been cited by Food & Wine magazine as best new chefs. And being repeated nominated isn’t exactly chump change.

I wonder if part of the issue is that judges nationwide can cast votes, and more of them have spent time dining in Charleston than in Atlanta. But I also wonder if Atlanta’s food scene is in a bit of a rut, while Charleston’s continues to get better. I’ve written about this subject before.

What do y’all think?

10 comments Add your comment

Theresa

May 6th, 2010
4:02 pm

I think Linton was robbed. Restaurant Eugene has wonderful food.

GadgetGeek

May 6th, 2010
5:04 pm

Linton was robbed.. is right. And so was Chefandthefatman.. They had an early nomination, but they only picked 3 rather then the 5 they said they were going to pick…
.

Reality

May 6th, 2010
5:18 pm

While I like Chef Hopkins and what he’s done promoting local, sustainable agriculture, Chef Brock has tremendous technical ability and creativity. He deserved the award.

reveiwer

May 6th, 2010
5:23 pm

georgia still has the worst food how do you compare it to new york no way

Reality

May 6th, 2010
5:31 pm

BillS

May 6th, 2010
5:32 pm

There is excellent food to be enjoyed in Georgia certainly including Atlanta. If you believe otherwise, you need to get away from Wendys. No, the best of it doesn’t compare to the best of NYC, but that’s hardly a slur on GA. Congrats to Sean, though–very creative cooking and fabulous presentation. charleston does have outstanding restaurants, especially givne its small size.

Amanda

May 7th, 2010
10:48 am

John, is there a place that has links to things you have written recently for other publications? I would say I’m a big fan of your writing but obviously not as aware as I should be since I thought the ajc was your only gig. Hope I don’t get kicked out of the Kessler fan club. I would love to read more of your stuff.

RK

May 7th, 2010
1:12 pm

Sean Brock is awesome. He combines everything that is great with modern restaurants today — locally-raised products and modern techniques. He blew everyone away at cochon55, too, I read.

Amanda, good question. I happened to come across this article oh his from Cooking Light a while back, on Belle Chevre: http://www.bellechevre.com/pdf/CookingLightApril09.pdf

[...] View full post on Food and More with John Kessler [...]

The Mack

May 12th, 2010
1:24 pm

Get used to it, Atlanta. You can’t half-step it in Charleston…you have to bring it each and every day or get swept under by the next young lion chef. Hungry, and wanting to make a name for him/her self.

But I’m old school, so I’ll give you my favorite ‘under the radar’ restaurants: 1. Gullah Cuisine (soul) 2. The Wreck (seafood) 3. SeeWee (seafood) 4. Halls Chophouse (steak) 5. Fuel (Caribbean fusion) I put Gullah at my #1 because sometimes you HAVE to have soul food like my Mama May used to make! Charlotte Jenkins was the reason I didn’t hurt myself after my marriage went in the tank.