Jul 13, 2022 - Food and Drink

Chef Sean Brock opens new Nashville restaurant

Sean Brock in the kitchen.
Sean Brock. Photo: John Troxel/courtesy of June

Celebrity chef Sean Brock's newest restaurant June, which opens Wednesday, is the culinary playground he always wanted.

  • Staff use equipment typically seen in science labs to pull new levels of flavor from their ingredients.

A single spoonful represents "days and days and days of work," Brock tells Axios.

Why it matters: Brock pitches June as the pinnacle of his career and the centerpiece of his Nashville empire, which also includes Audrey, Joyland and The Continental.

  • "June is a restaurant that's shooting for the stars," he says. "I want Nashville to have a restaurant that is recognized worldwide as an exciting, modern place to eat."

How it works: The restaurant, which is upstairs from Audrey in McFerrin Park, offers a 20-course tasting menu that will change eight times per year.

  • Each meal is split into five acts: canapes, water, land, dessert and petit fours. Full meals will last two to three hours.
  • June will use ingredients ranging from regional produce like okra to fish imported from Japan.

The intrigue: Chefs are using high-end equipment in Brock's "research and development lab," which is visible from the restaurant.

  • "This lab is filled full of all the toys I've wanted my entire career," Brock says. They include "extraordinary pieces of equipment that you would never see in or near a restaurant."
  • Using scientific tools like a centrifuge and a rotary evaporator "allows us to unlock all of these hidden flavors."

Zoom in: Brock described how the lab elevates a seemingly simple dish featuring scallop and fennel. Painstaking scientific methods draw oil, broth, syrup and other elements from those two ingredients to add layers of complexity.

  • During a soft opening this summer, Brock says diners had a visceral reaction to the surprisingly powerful flavors.
  • "You watch people's eyes get big, you know, their mouths drop open," he says. "That's been a goal of mine my whole career."

The bottom line: Brock said the end result is "a display of intense passion toward incredible products, and the craft of cooking and the art of fine dining."

  • "This is going to be where I chase perfecting those things for the rest of my entire life."
A laboratory seen next to a restaurant.
Sean Brock's lab, as seen from June. Photo: John Troxel/courtesy of June
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