Participating In: Good For The Soul
Participating In: Good For The Soul
Born and raised on Hilton Head Island, SC, Jon Buck’s Southern roots run deep. As a child, Buck gained an appreciation for quality Southern food from both his mother and grandmother’s kitchens; and as Buck affectionately says, a love for delicious food “runs in the family.” Providing a canvas to develop his cooking experience, Buck’s mother would ask him to make a recipe for the family dinner and then would give feedback on the preparation and flavor. At 13 years old, Buck parlayed his in-home cooking lessons to his first restaurant experience. Buck began working in a local pizza parlor where he became enthralled by the fast-paced nature and mechanics of the kitchen – in Buck’s own words, he “was hooked.”
Deciding to further his education, Buck attended East Tennessee State University where he studied psychology. With a mere 3 semesters remaining before earning his degree, Buck suddenly had an insatiable desire to pursue his love of cooking and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America where he learned the fundamentals of cooking. While in school, Buck worked closely with his mentor, Chef Xavier Leroux, learning classical French technique and precision, which provided an important foundation for the future. Following graduation in 2008, Buck was recruited for a teaching fellowship in advanced restaurant cooking in the Escoffier Room where he was able to share his passion and experience and demonstrate the important relationship between food and technique to his students. Next, Buck moved to Napa Valley where he accepted a position as Chef de Partie for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, working at Bouchon Bistro in Yontville, California. In this role, Buck learned the pursuit of perfection, structure and functionality and the collective impact on the guest experience. Later, Buck moved to Telluride, Colorado where he worked as a Sous Chef for the New Sheridan Chop House, enjoying the freedom to create his own dishes and daily specials for the first time. However, an unforeseen call to return to his family and his South Carolina roots brought Buck to Charleston in 2013.
Buck joined The Neighborhood Dining Group in 2013 as Chef de Partie at Husk Charleston. He recalls his first night in the Husk kitchen as an explosion of flavor and a connection with food on a visceral level, of which he had always longed for. Under the direction of Chef Sean Brock, Buck learned the importance of a symbiotic relationship with local farmers, the land and the thick heritage of the Lowcountry. Quickly, Buck found a voice through his culinary creations that would help diners return to a time of greater food integrity, honesty and purity, a cornerstone of the Husk philosophy. At Husk Charleston, Buck was promoted to Sous Chef, followed by Executive Sous Chef before being named Chef de Cuisine at Husk Greenville when the restaurant opened.
With a profound appreciation for the preservation of honest and wholesome ingredients, Buck utilizes only the highest quality, seasonally-driven bounty from local farmers and purveyors to create dishes with a distinct Southern identity, influenced by local Appalachian flavors. Buck’s cooking philosophy is rooted in the belief that you must have a solid appreciation and understanding of the fundamentals of Southern cuisine before creating a “new riff” and modern interpretation; for Buck, it’s about keeping the integrity and honesty of Southern tradition. In 2019, he was nominated as a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for Best Chef: Southeast, just the second Greenville chef to ever be nominated in this category.