Charlie Mitchell and Gabriel Kreuther | The Culinary Collaboration of the Century

The pair discusses their piquant holiday collaboration with DEWAR'S whisky.

Written by

Mecca Woodson

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The temperamental act of cooking a dish, whether for yourself or a loved one, is often overlooked as a simple means to satiation. But, when we pay attention, we can see the many nuances that cooking carries, particularly in an ardent and cultural sense. Ingredients are not merely the building blocks of cuisine, but heritage too. Meals have the potential to echo our personal narratives and roots, becoming an embodiment of our stories. Michelin-starred chefs Charlie Mitchell and Gabriel Kreuther are indicative of this as their culinary roots reach as far down as early childhood, observing the interplay family members shared with food and the practice of transforming it, something that would become completely enmeshed with their identities. 

The 1st Black chef in New York City and 2nd in the United States to receive a Michelin star, Charlie Mitchell’s culinary dreams were not accompanied by icons like Wolfgang Puck and Julia Child to look up to, but instead someone closer to him. Moved by his grandmother’s cooking, Mitchell worked his way up in the culinary world, propelled by a fondness for cooking and an intention to carve out space for marginalized creators. Following stints at some of New York’s top kitchens, Mitchell now concocts his culinary innovations at Brooklyn’s Clover Hill, not too far from Kreuther whose work resides in Manhattan. 

Emerging from a familial environment of people working around food in different capacities, Gabriel Kreuther has had a lifelong affinity for food, largely attributing to the name that he’s made for himself. Accumulating well-deserved accolades over his tenure as a chef, Kreuther opened an eponymous restaurant in New York City back in 2015, and soon after introduced his handcrafted chocolate company, with more dining concepts to grace us in the near future. But more recently, Kreuther alongside Mitchell, collaborated to create a French-New American-inspired holiday menu paired with the entire Dewar’s Double Double series

Speaking to the talents and rich history of each chef, the menu boasts vibrant dishes from a poached egg tartelette over a bed of leeks and miso fondue to a white chocolate crema. We spoke with the two chefs about food and identity, how they composed a harmonious menu while sticking to their respective roots, and of course, Dewar’s whisky during an interview. 

What drew you to pursuing your passion for food? Was there a specific moment or person in your life that inspired you?

Chef Kreuther: I knew from a very young age that I always wanted to be a chef. I kind of always dreamed about being one. I had uncles that were chefs, pastry chefs, and butchers...in some ways I grew up in that environment and was inspired by food, and I was always looking to learn more about cooking methods and flavors. I grew up on a farm in a family that had many ties to the food world. I would say that the main inspiration was my mom, she was a great cook, and secondly my uncle who owned a small inn in the nearby mountains. Food always intrigued me and I was passionate always discovering new things, new flavors and since I was very young, I spent my school vacation with my uncle in his restaurant kitchen.

In collaboration with Michelin Star Chef Charlie Mitchell, you’ve created a French-New American holiday menu. What are the fundamental cuisines and flavors that we can expect from the menu? Which is your favorite dish?

Chef Kreuther: When the Dewar's team approached me to collaborate with Chef Mitchell to create an exceptional dinner to honor the release of the new Double Double 37-year-old expression, I readily accepted the opportunity. This collaboration afforded us the freedom to experiment and innovate. Chef Mitchell and I's aim was to craft an extraordinary tasting menu that not only accentuates the intricate flavor profiles inherent in each variant of Dewar’s Double Double series, but also
redefines the perception of this category through fresh and captivating approaches.

Among the assortment of dishes, one of our standout creations was the Dewar's Double Double 37 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Chestnut Crème, featuring an Infused Tobacco Chantilly; and Red Currant Sorbet. Inspired by the notes of ripe peaches, orange peel, and brown sugar prevalent in Dewar’s Double Double 37 Year Old, our intention was to amplify these fruity elements through the sorbet while paying homage to the whisky's essence with the tobacco-infused chantilly cream.

In what ways were you two able to intertwine your techniques and methods to create a balanced composition of your talents for the holiday menu’s recipes?

Chef Kreuther: The dinner reflected each of our respective styles, from Chef Charlie Mitchell's trailblazing take on New American cuisine to my French discipline. For a clever double entendre on the Dewar’s Double Double range, the menu was a veritable dialogue between both of us (for double the Michelin talent), spoken through the pairings. While the Dewar's Double Double series is traditionally savored on its own, Chef Mitchell and myself infused our creativity into crafting cocktails, including: 

Hokkaido Uni Bibimbap paired with DEWAR'S Double Double 21 Year Old Mizunara Oak Cask finished whisky via a reimagined take on the classic Boulevardier cocktail. This innovative version is delicately stirred over koshikari rice, masterfully blending, and introducing new, flavors.
Black Perigord Truffle, infused with DEWAR'S DOUBLE DOUBLE 27 Year Old Washed Pearled Barley. Complemented with German Butterball-Nori Espuma and Fried Dulce Seaweed, this dish pairs perfectly with a floral rendition on an Old Fashioned, skillfully higlighting the multifaceted character of DEWAR'S Double Double 27 Year Old Palo Cortado Cask Finish, with hints of lilac, lavender and green chartreuse.

Japanese A5 Wagyu Steak and Blue Lobster are paired with DEWAR'S Double Double 32 Year Old Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish. This whisky, already a masterpiece in its own right, gains an additional layer of complexity and richness via a washing process using the unparalleled A5 Wagyu Steak. This process imbues the whisky with more depth, echoing the steak's exquisite marbling and flavor profile. Finally, the whisky is showcased in perhaps one of the most unique variations of the classic Rob Roy.

A neat serving of DEWAR'S Double Double 37 Year Old–a rare, limited-edition blended malt, which honors the whisky-making traditions of Speyside region of
Scotland–paired with a Chestnut Crème; Tobacco Chantilly; Red Currant.

How has your identity and experience leading to becoming an executive chef influenced your approach to food and to life?

Chef Mitchell: My approach to life has remained the same, do things that will make me happy, and the rest will follow. The relationship with food, however, does change a bit. As an executive chef, I spend just as much time thinking about flavors, but now the intention matters a bit more, the why and the vision behind the food and flavors. I would say now it's much more about using food as a language rather than just a delicious bite.

You’re New York City’s first and America’s second Black chef with a Michelin Star. What do you feel defines your individuality in your craft and at Clover Hill?

Chef Mitchell: For me, the love of the food is what defines the cuisine at the moment, really focusing on how to create a feeling and different moments of nostalgia throughout the meal. Defining how you treat and showcase your ingredients as a chef will eventually set you apart.

Not only are you a beacon for up-and-coming chefs, but especially for those who are in underrepresented communities. What does that mean to you? How does this impact your endeavors going forward?

Chef Mitchell: It's everything. I embrace it as much as possible. For me, it's about continuing to be a resource as much as possible to young chefs, even in my busiest times. Moving forward, no matter the project, I want to continue to lead by example, really showcasing professionalism in order to maintain longevity in this industry.

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Mecca Woodson, Dewar's Whisky, Charlie Mitchell, Gabriel Kreuther