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August 27, 2012

In a city filled with culinary hotspots, Charleston's Husk is in a class of its own. On paper, it may sound standard: Southern cuisine, sourced from regional farms, serving up lots of pork, bourbon, and pimiento cheese. As with all good design, however, Husk's artfully executed simplicity is a result of very detailed planning. When in Charleston last week, I had a chance to visit and was struck by (among many other just-so details) the rustic, earthy tableware. Eschewing the crisp white of haute cuisine standby Limoges porcelain, these muted, weighty ceramics were done locally by design duo Chip Burr and Fiorenzo Berardozzi.

Custom 10-inch Circular Dinner Plate at Husk
Husk is no under-the-radar cafe: It was crowned Bon Appetit's best new restaurant in America in 2011 when it opened. Chef Sean Brock's other Charleston restaurant, McCrady's, skews slightly more towards molecular gastronomy while Husk serves up less challenging takes on Southern fare.
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Circular dinner plate by ceramicist Chip Burr
Ceramicist Chip Burr tells us how he hooked up with Sean Brock to start producing Hearth's unusual tableware: "My partner [Fiorenzo Berardozzi] and I were joking about all the restaurants who use local beef and vegetables--and then you flip the plate over and it's from China." As luck would have it, Burr's son-in-law is a commercial fisherman who provides all the fish for Husk and McCrady's. "One day he went into manager [Dan Latimer]'s office and saw all these broken plates"--so after offering new samples, Husk fell in love.
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CBFB Tablescapes Chip Burr Fiorenzo Berardozzi Pottery
Burr says of Chef Brock, "He's very personable and accessible." Here, a 7-inch bread plate.
Courtesy of 
Copyright 2012, Larry Gale
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Brown Dinner Plate by Chip Burr and Fiorenzo Berardozzi
Culinary magazine Bon Appetit agrees with Burr's assessment: "Brock isn't reinventing Southern food or attempting to create some citified version of it. He's trying to re-create the food his grandma knew—albeit with the skill and resources of a modern chef. As a result, he (and Husk) has become a torchbearer for an honest style of home cooking that many of us never truly tasted until now."
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7-Inch Soup Bowl by Chip Burr and Fiorenzo Berardozzi
7-inch soup bowl, made exclusively for Husk by Chip Burr and Fiorenzo Berardozzi in Charleston, SC.
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Ceramic collection by Chip Burr and Fiorenzo Berardozzi
Chip Burr explains that "we fire them at Cone10 (around 2,400 degrees) in a gas-fired kiln with reduction. When you starve the gas flame of oxygen it pulls [idiosyncrasies] out of the clay." Note: The "cone" system measures the heat of a kiln, and the higher the cone, the higher the temperature and more dense the final piece will be. Stoneware, like the ceramics made by Budd and his partner Fiorenzo Berardozzi, can withstand higher temperatures.
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Ash collection for ceramic making
Chip and Fiorenzo collect ashes from Husk's wood-burning stove and, after sifting, incorporate it into a ceramic glaze. So not only is Husk's dishware local, it's recycled from its own backyard!
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Custom 10-inch Circular Dinner Plate at Husk
Husk is no under-the-radar cafe: It was crowned Bon Appetit's best new restaurant in America in 2011 when it opened. Chef Sean Brock's other Charleston restaurant, McCrady's, skews slightly more towards molecular gastronomy while Husk serves up less challenging takes on Southern fare.

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