Chef Shaun joined the Patrick Properties Hospitality Group family in late 2017 and is Executive Chef of soon-to-open Parcel 32 on Charleston’s Upper King Street. Sells’ love for cooking began at a young age, roaming and foraging for food in his hometown of Coral Bay, St. John, and fishing off his dad’s sailboat. He often cooked for his siblings while his parents were working, which inspired his culinary awakening. He set his sights on Charleston after being displaced from his Virgin Islands home by hurricanes Irma and Maria. He chose Charleston for its connection to the Caribbean, seasonality, amazing bounty available inland, access to natural resources, and disaster and emergency preparedness.
Shaun graduated from Johnson & Wales with a degree in Culinary Arts and set forth on a successful career path. He has worked at several well-respected restaurants and hotels, including The Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, OCEAN 362 in St. John, and Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard alongside talented chefs, such as Andrew Chadwick, Levon Wallace, Michael “TheRev” Sullivan, and master butcher/salumi maker, Francois Vecchio. Much of the inspiration behind his cooking today is drawn from renowned chefs John Ash and Michel Bras, both of whom mentored Chadwick, the first chef he worked under at The Ritz Carlton. Shaun is particularly inspired by Ash’s farm-to-table initiatives and Bras’ intricate plating techniques.
Among his many accolades, Shaun was named a top “30 under 30” chef by Zagat and was nominated for a Rising Star by StarChefs. He hosts annual Friends of James Beard Benefits and is an alumni of the foundation’s prestigious Boot Camp for Policy and Change. He has also cooked for several dignitaries, celebrities, and musicians throughout his career, including Gayle King, Tyra Banks, Kenny Chesney, and Adam Sandler!
Shaun’s story extends beyond his culinary background. In 2016, he and his wife, Ally, were featured on HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living” and showcased a home he built with his mom and stepdad. He is also a former World Cup soccer player. In addition to cooking, Sells can be found making his own pottery and wooden cutting boards.
Images courtesy of Lindsay Vann Photography || Bon Appétit Magazine
Shaun is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle focused on low impact, sustainability, and minimalism. He enjoys pickling, preserving, fermenting, curing, foraging, gardening, and spearfishing, all of which makes him that much more passionate about his profession as a chef. In addition to building urban gardens and bee sanctuaries, Sells is a butcher, smoker, and salt maker. In St. John, he worked with local fisheries on a sea-to-smoker concept utilizing a coconut grove and made high-end finishing salt through his company, Virgin Salt Co., both of which he plans to continue from Charleston when the area recovers from the recent hurricane damage. Sells draws his latest life inspiration from his new baby girl, Riley Brn, who was born in February 2018.
At Parcel 32, Chef Shaun Brian is excited to continue his deep-seated commitment to local sourcing and is on the hunt for the freshest herbs, produce, meats, and fish from local farms and fishermen as he prepares to highlight the unique flavors of Charleston and the Carolinas.
NOW, ON TO THE SERIOUS QUESTIONS….
Q: If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
A: This new dry age steak I developed that tastes like it’s been dry aging for 100 days, and it only ages 20 days. It tastes like buttered popcorn steak and just melts in your mouth. No knife needed!
Q: What is your favorite guilty pleasure TV show you’re embarrassed to admit you watch?
A: I’m not embarrassed easily, but The Flash on CW.
Q: Best vacation you’ve been on?
A: Every summer we would leave VI to go visit family in Florida.
Q: What is on your bucket list?
A: To visit every continent and learn how to fly a plane.
Q: What is your most unusual talent?
A: I would say my ability to sew. I started when I was in Four H Clover, which was kinda like Boy Scouts.
Q: What is your favorite account to follow on social media?
A: @eatingtools on Instagram
Q: If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be?
A: Lionel Messi, an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team.
Q: What actor would you choose to be you in a movie about your life?
A: Jason Statham
Q: Would you rather have unlimited sushi or unlimited tacos for life?
A: Sushi, because I can make sushi tacos!
Q: Who or where would you haunt if you were a ghost?
A: The James Beard House 🤣
Q: Is a hot dog a sandwich, and why?
A: Yes, because it’s in between bread.