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Brooklyn chef is the best in NYC with James Beard Award win

Brooklyn goes hard at the James Beard Awards.

Charlie Mitchell of Clover Hill, a Michelin-starred New American restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, took home the prize this year for best chef in New York. Mitchell beat out four other Empire State nominees for the nod, at one time known as the Oscars of the food world.

“There’s a little stigma in New York that the best things to do, like bars and dining, are in the city. We disagree, obviously,” Mitchell told Crain’s after his crowning moment.

Charlie Mitchell of Clover Hill, the Michelin-starred New American restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, won the James Beard Award for best chef in New York.

Getty Images for James Beard Foundation

“We try to be ambassadors for Brooklyn, to put on for Brooklyn and show that. We’re trying to do a different version of fine dining that fits the neighborhood and fits the community,” the chef said of the resturant, which offers a $305 seasonal tasting menu, along with a standard wine pairing for $175 or premium pairing for $495.

The James Beard Awards, handed out by the NYC-based James Beard Foundation, were announced Monday night in Chicago. The Foundation has struggled significantly in the wake of recent accusations of a lack of diversity, ethics and transparency.

“These remarkable individuals embody the very essence of our Good Food for Good ethos, showcasing exceptional talent, unwavering dedication to their craft, and a steadfast commitment to elevating the industry,” James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach said in a news release.

“With their passion, skill, and leadership, they are shaping our nation’s dining landscape and setting a new standard for culinary excellence,” the British expat and former cable executive stated.

The James Beard Awards, considered some of the most prestigious in the world, were announced Monday night in Chicago.

Getty Images for James Beard Foundation

Originally from Detroit, Clover Hill’s Mitchell came to NYC to help open the restaurant in December 2019.

After closing due to the pandemic, Clover Hill reopened in February 2022. Just a few months later, Mitchell became the first Black chef in NYC to earn a Michelin star.

The intimate 20-seat restaurant is run by Mitchell, Clay Castillo and Gabriel Merino, who aspire “to blend the best elements of old and new school fine dining focusing on fish and shellfish,” according to the website.

“We believe that eating should be fun,” the team said. “Our intent is to deliver an experience that feels like home.”

Mitchell’s JBA win comes as some insiders complain that NYC has been snubbed in recent years as the awarding organization attempts to rebuild its reputation and expand its reach.

“Not only did New York not sweep this thing, but New York was barely a player,” Rick Camac, executive director of industry relations for the Institute of Culinary Education, said to Gothamist.

In 2022, Mitchell became the first Black chef in NYC to earn a Michelin star with Clover Hill. Getty Images for Chefs for Kids’ Cancer

“Years ago, New York restaurants got a lot of the acclaim, some say most of the acclaim,” he said.

“I think in a way to broaden the interest, perspective, and fairness of it all, Michelin, James Beard, other publications have clearly widened the spectrum of restaurants they’re looking at.”

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