Whole Hog

Part purist, part magician, Sean Brock is pushing two culinary extremes

Grant Cornett for TIME

Brock at his rooftop garden in Charleston, S.C.

Sean Brock is listening to a chicken. he's in the prep kitchen of Husk, the Charleston, S.C., phenomenon Bon Appétit recently named the best new restaurant in America. And he is making the crown jewel of Southern cooking--fried chicken--in covered cast-iron pans. He gauges the birds' progress by their muffled sizzling. "They sound happy," he says, in a state of near bliss himself. Everything he is doing is intuitive, atavistic, an act of love and gluttony. This is one side of Sean Brock.

There is another side too, the side that first brought him to light as the most conspicuously gifted...

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