5@5 - How to hire a great staff
April 5th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's Note: Dan Latimer is the general manager of HUSK Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. HUSK is the second restaurant under the helm of James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock and is often regarded as one of the best restaurants in America.

Hiring a team is one of the most integral points in a restaurant manager’s life; a well-thought-out and executed regiment in hiring can save countless hours of “managing” in the future. I remember waaay back in school learning about the Marriott Management Philosophy on hiring. There were many snippets, but the one that has stayed with me the most is: “If you don’t hire the right people, we can never make anything out of them."

One of the biggest keys to success in hiring is understanding the culture of your company and finding people who fit that culture. I have encountered many candidates who had plenty of experience and knowledge, but just not the right personality. If we brought that person in, we would be doing ourselves - and that person - a disservice (and this is the service industry after all).

The environment during an interview is important to keep in mind. We all have to remember that every potential team member is also a potential guest. Even if they aren’t the right fit for an employee, they are still the right fit for a guest. We try to make everyone feel welcome and warm; it is hospitality no matter what the outcome might be.

I have highlighted key aspects of this nuanced practice in the following five points. Remember, there was a lot more in the stockpot when I began. And, I am not going to give you all my secrets because then all of my future candidates would have a leg up on me.
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Filed under: 5@5 • Restaurants • Sean Brock • Service • Think


Lick the Screen - Boiled peanuts
March 5th, 2012
04:15 PM ET
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This is a dish of boiled peanuts. You love them, you hate them, or you just haven't had them; they are not a foodstuff about which there is much neutrality.

It's quite likely the texture. Perhaps the smell. Maybe the mess.

This probably seems self-explanatory from the name, but the popular roadside snack is made by boiling raw or "green" peanuts (or "p-nuts" as they're often touted) in heavily salted water until the shells soften and the nutmeat loses any snap. Devotees pop 'em open and slurp them out of the shells like edamame with a Southern accent, but again - there are issues.
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Reclaiming the soul of Southern food
November 10th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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On Wednesday, November 10th, Eatocracy hosted its inaugural Secret Supper in Atlanta, Georgia, centered around the topic of how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking. You can still take your place at the (virtual) table, by joining in the conversation and cooking along at home.

Sean Brock wants to serve you the Southern meal of your dreams. He just needs to go have a little chat with the earth first.

His new restaurant Husk opened this week in Charleston, South Carolina, stocked with a pantry of over 4000 lovingly put-up cans of preserved meat and produce (Brock jokes, “We bought up every empty mason jar in the South.”) – and little else. The chef-imposed mandate for the restaurant is: if it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.

While that might seem like a brand of culinary handcuffing, the disallowance of Italian olive oil, Napa Valley wines and Middle Eastern spices, and the added necessity of daily – possibly hourly – conversations with local purveyors of fresh meat and heirloom produce and artisanal goods is what enables Husk to serve the purest expression of Southern food that he possibly can. It’s the kind of food he says he “took for granted” growing up in Virginia, the kind he claims hasn’t been properly, widely, truly available since factory farming and genetically modified produce became the norm, even in the heart of farmland.

The need for such ascetic rebellion was sparked, in part, by the desire to reclaim the soul of Southern food. Brock, along with a growing number of chefs like Atlanta’s Linton Hopkins and Steven Satterfield and Roanoke’s Josh Smith, is on a mission to change the image of his region’s cuisine from overcooked vegetables and deep-fried, cream gravy-slathered everything, to a celebration of its idiosyncratic produce, rich culinary history and the people behind it.

So what is Southern food, exactly?

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Filed under: Cuisines • Favorites • Feature • Sean Brock • Secret Suppers • Southern • Think


5@5 - Chef Sean Brock
August 26th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Eggtocracy coverage to take a look at the greener side of life.

Sean Brock is the executive chef of the historic McCrady's Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, where his modern farm-to-table cuisine most recently earned him the 2010 James Beard "Best Chef Southeast" award.

As a passionate champion for replenishing those varieties of crops at risk of dying out, Brock currently tends to one and one-half acres on Thornhill Farm in McClellanville, South Carolina, where he plants and grows a number of heirloom crops. As we explained earlier, "Heirloom seeds come from plants that have remained genetically unchanged and have been open-pollinated (by insects, birds, wind, etc.) for at least 50 - or some say 100 - years. This means no hybridizing with other varieties of plants."

He's on a mission to bring vanishing vegetables back to the table, and here to tell you why.

Five Reasons to Use Heirloom Ingredients: Sean Brock
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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Gardening • Heirloom • Ingredients • Sean Brock • Southern • Think


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