Chef Welcomes Challenge of Winter Cooking
By: Holly Meyer
Chef Sean Brock welcomes the winter challenge of turning the abundance of seasonal root vegetables and greens into something exciting to eat day after day.
“Everybody always complains about cooking in the winter,” Brock said. “It pushes us to be creative. It pushes us to come up with new techniques.”
Brock, the chef at Husk restaurant in Nashville, explained and demonstrated his philosophy on eating foods that are in season Saturday during the Tennessee Local Food Summit.
“The idea of cooking by the season or buying by the season, to me it’s a way of looking at things. It’s a way of operating,” Brock said. “There’s an enormous amount of thinking involved, but the reward is amazing.”
Brock grew up eating with the seasons out of necessity, and it continues to impact how he thinks about and handles food. He was raised in rural Virginia far from any restaurants.
“You had to cook at home every single day. We grew everything, and I thought everyone did that. I was so far back in the mountains that I just assumed that’s how people lived,” Brock said.
Incorporating seasonal foods into daily dishes was one of many topics discussed at this year’s Tennessee Local Food Summit. In addition to the kitchen, the summit’s workshops focuses on science, gardening, economics and spirituality.
The Tennessee Local Food Summit was started by farmer Jeff Poppen in an effort to promote local, organic farming as a solution to climate change.
“It’s sort of networking of all these different fields in an effort for Middle Tennessee to once again get its food from Middle Tennessee,” Poppen said. “This event is just a byproduct of a large movement that is going on throughout the nation.”
Vanderbilt University’s staff and faculty wellness program, Health Plus, hosted this year’s program at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center because it matched well with the organization’s mission, said Brad Awalt, manager of Health Plus.
“Our mission at Health Plus is to provide programs and services that are designed kind of to help people lead healthier lives,” Awalt said. “We thought it was a great fit kind of parallel with some of the programing that we do, and so we were able to make it happen.”
The summit continues Sunday with more workshops and a farm tour. Visittnlocalfood.com for more information.
Reach Holly Meyer at 615-259-8241 and on Twitter @HollyAMeyer.