Charlie Mitchell makes history as first Black Michelin-starred chef in New York City

The Detroit native says his passion for food and cooking comes from his grandmother.

Chef Charlie Mitchell has made history as the first Black Michelin-starred chef in New York City.

Mitchell — also the winner of Michelin’s 2022 New York Young Chef Award for his Brooklyn Heights restaurant, Clover Hill — is the second Black executive chef in the nation to receive the honor, according to the Miami Herald.

The Detroit native gushed about the milestone on Friday in an interview with TODAY’s Craig Melvin. “You just assume that someone has already done this, you know, it doesn’t cross your mind that you may be the first or second to do really anything, especially here in New York City,” said Mitchell, who attended culinary school for a few months but mostly developed his skills working years as a sous chef and executive sous chef at top New York restaurants, according to Nation’s Restaurant’s News.

He explained that his passion for food and cooking comes from his grandmother. “I think the thing that stuck with me the most is she used to do this whole fry fish, like whole fry bass all the time when I was younger,” said Mitchell, who is currently a semifinalist for a James Beard Award: Emerging Chef, Yahoo reports. 

In that interview last year with Nation’s Restaurant News, Mitchell said he dreamed of being “the first Black chef with three stars because I had never realized that none of us even had one star.”

Last year, Clover Hill cofounder Clay Castillo asked him to join the team as the executive chef. In that role, Mitchell was tasked with creating the menu. Diners experience an eight-course, tasting menu of seasonal foods that change regularly, according to Yahoo. The restaurant earned a Michelin star in its first year of operation. 

Mitchell, now a co-owner of the restaurant, said he and his Clover Hill team are “always trying to make the dish the best version of itself,” noting that they “may tweak it every day for two weeks.”

The menu currently includes dishes such as King Crab Tartlet, Long Island Fluke, Spanish Octopus, Hokkaido Shark Skin Flounder and Sawara & Razor Claims. For dessert is Chocolate Sponge Cake. 

Mitchell hopes Clover Hill diners leave “excited or inspired about food,” he said on TODAY.

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