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Charlie Mitchell has become NYC’s first Black Michelin-Starred chef after winning Michelin’s 2022 New York Young Chef Award.
The Detroit native co-owns Clover Hill, a Michelin-Starred restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, and worked his way up the ranks after dropping out of culinary school after a few months, according to TODAY.
“I ended up Googling restaurants in the metro area. Got my first real job,” Mitchell said. “And in that kitchen is where I was like, ‘Wow, like I love the way they work. I love how professional it is, using ingredients like I’ve never had, I’ve never learned about.’”
A Michelin Star is one of the most prestigious awards in the culinary industry. According to their guide, a Michelin star is awarded to restaurants offering outstanding cooking. They take into account five criteria:
- Quality of ingredients
- Harmony of flavors
- Mastery of Techniques
- Personality of chef expressed through their cuisine
- Consistency across entire menu and over time
First Black Michelin-Starred chef in NYC
In an interview with TODAY, chef Mitchell admitted he was not aware of the historic implications.
“You always think about the people, so many people have come before you,” Mitchell said. “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.”
In an industry that is dominated by White men, Mitchell hopes to be the first of many Black NYC Michelin-Starred chefs.
“I think a lot of times, we’re chasing a very different American dream, then to kind of put up with these aggressive environments that are often led by people who don’t look like us,” he said.
Chef Mitchell is the first Black chef in NYC history to receive the coveted award and the second Black executive chef in the country to receive the honor. In 2022, chef Gerald Sombright of Orlanda, Florida received the award making him the first Black executive chef to be honored.