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Forkways #23: Top Chef

Chef Sean Brock was the person to metaphorically introduce me to pitmaster Rodney Scott. It is exciting to watch his career develop. It is interesting that the way that television can connect us with food and places and people. For many individuals who are excited about food, it started on a TV show.

For me the show that transformed my interest in food was Top Chef. The way that curiosity works in like a series of falling interweaving dominoes. From Top Chef, I added Chopped, and then other shows. Finally when I stared watching Mind of Chef, I felt like the experience was mimicking my experience as an eater. This show transformed the way that I saw food, from something that you cook into something that you tasted. Of course I did know that you eat and taste food, and many food shows express flavors verbally. But I had never thought about the transformation of that experience.

Sean Brock appears in Season 2 of Mind of a Chef and he planted all of these seeds of curiosity inside of me that have been trying to harvest ever since. Including the roots of Gullah cuisine in Southern food and the African American roots of southern BBQ using the folk traditions of people like Rodney Scott. His family's operation started in Hemingway, South Carolina but he recently opened a location in Charleston and subsequently won the James Beard Award for chef of the year. This is an amazing feat because Scott is not a traditionally trained chef.


  1. Meats have been preserved in a similar manner throughout the world where climate extremes or transportation can be a problem. Drying and smoking meat allows products to travel great distances and remain edible for long periods of time. Preservation can be accomplished by first cutting the meat into thin 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick strips and then drying them slowly over a fire – or in the sun in northern climates.


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