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Charlie Mitchell, the First MICHELIN-Starred African American Chef in New York

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina charlie mitchell

Charlie Mitchell is New York’s first African American MICHELIN-Starred chef: he cooks at Clover Hill in Brooklyn Heights and started from the bottom, searching online for restaurants in the metropolitan area, then he trained with Daniel Humm. “I never thought I would come out first,” he states.

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2022 was a magical year for Charlie Mitchell, who was awarded both the MICHELIN Star for the Clover Hill restaurant, of which he is co-owner, and the MICHELIN award for the best young chef in New York. Historic achievements, as this is the first time for an African American chef in the city and the second in the country. But there is already another prestigious nomination: that of emerging chef for the James Beard Foundation, where he is a semi-finalist.

©Kadeem Wat-Clover Hill

Born and raised in Detroit, like many others, Mitchell was influenced by his grandmother's passion for cooking. "I think what impressed me the most was the way she prepared whole fried fish, like sea bass. Always with the head'. After a few months of culinary school, he preferred to seek practice by looking for employment on the internet. "I ended up searching for restaurants in the metropolitan area. That's how I found my first job. And that's when I realized I loved the way they cooked. It was so professional, using ingredients that I had never used before."

@Ezra Pollard

So here he was perfecting his skills at none other than Eleven Madison Park, before rising to the rank of chef a year ago at the newly opened Clover Hill, immediately tasked with drafting the eight-courses tasting menu and creative part, hinging on the best local and seasonal produce. "I know it's challenging, but we're always changing something or trying to make each dish the best version of itself. So much so that we can change it every day if we have to, until it resembles the perfect dish."

@Geoffrey Taylor

For Mitchell, it is a dream come true. "I always wanted to plant myself here and be a serious chef in New York. That was my goal. But the announcement was a total surprise, I was blown away. You always assume there has been someone before achieving these results. I never thought I would be the first or second, especially in New York.” The explanation for his record, he says, lies in the working hours and entry wages, which are less attractive than in another sector. "It matters that my guests think they have spent their money well and that they are excited or inspired by the food. This is the most important thing to us.”


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