As he approaches the counter, he prepares himself to taste. The chefs watch—and wait.
Over the last year, this team has created dozens of dishes together—far outpacing what a typical kitchen might design in a year. But this group has a vision: create dazzlingly fresh and provocative dishes that have never been done before, and do so while honoring the integrity of the flavors and ingredients of the Appalachian South.
It’s a mission Brock has been known for since he opened his first restaurant, Husk, in 2010 and soon after won the James Beard award for best chef of the Southeast. Audrey, opened in 2021, is his most personal venture yet—named after his grandmother, his biggest inspiration. The real Audrey worked as a butcher, kept bees, gardened and was always cooking and caring for people. He wanted to honor her and create a place that pushed the limits of food, but in a joyful environment that makes everyone better. This restaurant is family to him; and you take care of family.
It’s the intensity of the creative process and the shared reverence for tradition that bonds the team here. The chefs and cooks don’t just chop, dice, sauté. They create dishes with the knowledge that each ingredient is the result of the care and sweat of local farmers, born out of years of harvests and the traditions of families who have worked the land for generations.
At any given time, there are only 12-25 ingredients to choose from—the freshest, seasonal from the region. Sweet potatoes, Ossabaw pork, dried Appalachian berries. Each is essential. A recipe is not just a grocery list to put in a pot, but rather a series of stories behind the ingredients themselves.
The kitchen is an inspired place, filled with the energy of honoring and celebrating these ingredients and these people. Anchoring the ingenuity, technique and creativity in deep tradition gives the kitchen a sense of purpose. A mission. The tension between the new and the old, invention and tradition creates a beautiful place filled with the sense of purpose and family.
In this kitchen, the inspiration makes the tiring, intense work exciting. These innovative dishes emerging from the traditions of the South are something entirely unique. They’re produced by a passionate group that cares for their suppliers, and, in turn, each other. One feeds the other. The staff knows they’re part of something at once elite and nostalgic. The pursuit fuels them as much as it fuels Brock. Standing in the kitchen feels like you are a part of something much larger, doing some small part to shine a light on the importance of traditions and craft that, if not celebrated and loved, could drift into the distance. This team, tasting dishes emerging out of their bustling kitchen, seems duty-bound to introduce a new generation of Americans to the wonders of the past.