Making Waves: how celebrity chef Dan Churchill is cooking up a storm in NYC

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We all agree that sharing great food is one of the most powerful forces bringing people together.

And that’s exactly why Dan Churchill – NYC based Aussie celebrity chef behind Charley St and Masterchef alumni – is living up to this mission statement – “To use food as a tool to bring people together and enrich their daily lives”.

Located in the Lower East Side, his fast-casual eatery with minimal décor incorporating a tranquil, sage green palette has made its name not just for its fresh eats and flat whites. At the helm of this dining hotspot, Dan is also serving up new healthy cooking ideas through his YouTube channel and a Studio Kitchen in Nolita.

A social media influencer with a massive global following and a regular face on U.S. TV shows including Good Morning America, ABC’s The Chew and The Food Network, Dan turns up for Advance to talk about his passion for healthy eating. 

Interview by Tammy Lee, Marketing & Communications & Digital Manager, Advance.

Where in Australia are you from?

I was born on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

How long have you been working and living in NYC?

I’ve been living and working in NYC for 3 years. Charley St itself opened in July of 2018.

What made you move there?

I moved here to further my dreams of furthering my media career, opening a restaurant, working with more amazing brands and communities in the States, and engaging in more opportunities here.

What do you like about the city?

I love the energy of New York, the opportunities that present themselves here, and how everyone is so empowered and passionate to achieve their dreams. The city is also undoubtedly a food mecca, and offers something for every single thing you could possibly be craving. For me it’s also about community, and New Yorkers have one of the best and strongest communities in the country and the world.

Why is it called Charley St?

Charles Strite is the legend who patented the automatic toaster in 1921, and we abbreviated it to Charley St. It's also a bit of a cheeky acknowledgement to Australian culture, where many of the restaurants have the name Lane, Street, etc. in them. Now, Charley St serves up fast, casual deliciousness in NYC’s Nolita District.

What does cooking mean to you?

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For me cooking is a way to connect with the people I love and put a smile on people’s faces. Food is such a universal thing -- we all can relate to the feeling of happiness to sit down around a table with people we love and share good times over a meal. We all have sentimental thoughts when it comes to food and memories associated with things we ate as children. To me, cooking is a way to evoke those memories and bond with the people we love.

Besides Charley St, you've also created your own YouTube Channel, and a Studio Kitchen in Nolita. What's the concept behind it?

Before I first opened Charley St, my two goals were to develop an epic team and to open my own studio where I could shoot content with amazing people, inspire others to live healthier lives, and work with people that inspire me. My channel existed already, but we’ve really honed in on what it’s all about - cooking with flavor and color every day - and I’ve developed a team that helps me execute my own goals when it comes to reaching amazing people all over the world cooking healthy meals for themselves. You can see all the good times on Youtube here .

Where do you eat in NYC?

Manhattan’s Lower East Side :)

What's one food you can't live without and why?

Spaghetti bolognaise…this one takes me back to childhood memories and my love for this meal with my family, which promotes so much happiness within. I am even smiling thinking about it as I write this.

What's next for Charley St?

In the next year or so, Charley St will be expanding to more locations around NYC. We’ll also have a brand new menu coming in the summer, with exciting items that are seasonal and sourced from our incredible local producers. And if you stop by in the summer, we’re going to have a pretty epic outdoor seating setup.

What do you miss most about Australia?

Naturally the family, friends and the beach… the morning routine of jumping in the ocean is a lot different here! :)