BROOKLYN HEIGHTS (PIX11) — For Executive Chef Charlie Mitchell, pursuing a career in the kitchen was a no-brainer. 

Growing up in a family who knew their way around a kitchen, Mitchell’s culinary focus was always the same: Cook good food that embraces quality, connection, and home. 

“I was initially inspired by the way my family fellowshipped around food and how important it felt growing up,” Mitchell said. “I took a liking to it at a very young age and just decided to stick with it as life went on.” 

Born and raised in Detroit, Mitchell knew that in order to really make his mark in the culinary world, he’d have to be somewhere big. Somewhere inspiring. Somewhere high energy.

So, in 2017, Mitchell packed his things and made the move to New York City for a fresh start.

While he was able to get his footing in French and Italian kitchens, the Michigan-born chef said his biggest challenge was getting acclimated to the culinary environment in the Big Apple. 

Credit: Natalie Black

“I knew I wanted to take it [cooking] seriously so I moved here,” Mitchell said. “But, then you get here and you’re like, ‘Wait, these people take it really serious.’ That was the hardest part out of the gate. I was like alright, I need to eat, sleep, and breathe food and cooking if I want to be really good at this.” 

During his time in New York City, Mitchell learned to perfect his craft by working in renowned restaurants like Flatiron’s Eleven Madison Park. 

Eventually, his hard work and culinary discipline led to him becoming the executive chef at Clover Hill in Brooklyn Heights. 

Chef Mitchell was first asked to create the menu for Clover Hill and delivered a seafood lover’s eight-course dream. 

The intimate, 30-seat Brooklyn restaurant aims to deliver an experience that feels like home — a concept that Mitchell is very proud of.

But he didn’t stop there.

In 2022, Chef Mitchell became the first Black chef to lead a Michelin star restaurant in New York City and the second in the country to run a restaurant that has earned a Michelin Star. 

While the accolade was one that came with years of hard work, Mitchell admits that it was also quite a shock. 

“I thought it was really special and I wasn’t expecting to get this reaction from people,” he said. “People were Instagramming about me being the first Black chef in New York City and I had no idea…I was really surprised at the moment…but it’s so special.” 

Even with all his success, the decorated Brooklyn chef is working to inspire other up-and-coming chefs and being a resource to others.

“Growing up, I saw how happy people could be from having a great meal and that was something I also wanted to make people feel,” Mitchell said. “I love that people can spend that time with us and we can cook them a great meal… We want people to leave here like they just tasted some good cooking and make sure that everyone will have a memorable meal when it comes to the restaurant.” 

PIX11’s James Ford and Larry Rochman contributed to this story.