Interview: Church Hill’s culinary dream team

Dutch & Co’s Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow discuss success, food, teamwork, and the joys of cooking hot dogs.

Dutch and Co.’s Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow have been riding high recently. Right after being nominated by Food & Wine Magazine for the title of best chefs in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Style Weekly named Dutch and Co. restaurant of the year. I spoke with Caleb and Phillip about their recent success, how they work as a team, and the ever-present desire to outdo themselves.

Q: The last week of March was a big one for Dutch and Co. First the nomination from Food & Wine Magazine, then Style Weekly naming the restaurant the best in the city. How did you react when you first found out?

A: It was quite the week for us; truly a mixed bag of emotions. We are very grateful and honored to be recognized for our craft. There is also a little bit of a surreal feeling to it all. It seemed to happen so fast. All in all, very exciting!

Q: It’s clear Dutch and Co. has made a definite impact on the community in just a short time. What is it about the food you prepare that makes your work stand out? What sets Dutch and Co. apart?

A: The biggest thing that makes our food stand out is probably the fact that there are two chefs. That enables us to bounce ideas off each other and truly transform those ideas into something we never saw coming. It’s really a fun way to evolve a dish, or a menu. And whatever we do we try and make it our own and maintain integrity in our food. As far as what sets Dutch & Company apart as a whole, that would have to be our staff. We are blessed with a talented collective of individuals who all bring a little something extra to the table. We have a very tight knit and accepting family here. Everyone respects everyone, and that includes every guest, delivery person, or whoever else that may come through the doors. We think our impact on the community comes by doing our part. We just try and provide a great place to have a nice meal and a delicious drink.

Q: Church Hill is quickly becoming the go-to destination for foodies looking for something new. After the praise from Food & Wine, Style and your many adoring fans citywide, is there a desire now to outdo yourselves, to top previous efforts or to challenge yourselves in new ways?

A: We always have the desire to outdo ourselves. If anything, its more about showing restraint. It can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but it can also lead to something beautiful and unexpected. Especially with there being two of us, we really have to check our egos at the door. That being said, we won’t be resting on our laurels anytime soon either. We continue to push each other as well as ourselves. We are still young and have a lot to learn, so there will always be the challenge of new ways. And that is a very exciting part of our job.

Q: The old idiom “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth” definitely doesn’t apply to you two. What is the key to your successful partnership?

A: The key to our successful partnership is that we treat it just like that: a partnership. It has definitely been a learning process, but we’ve built a solid foundation and try and stay tuned to each other. We respect each other very much, and make it a point to keep an open mind to one another’s ideas and opinions. We also know when we need to let the other take charge of something. If one of us has a solid idea on a new dish, then that person should be able to take the reigns.

Q: And finally, what is your favorite item to cook and why?

A: Thats always a tough one to answer! Honestly, its too difficult to pinpoint a specific item. We have been having fun with the hot dogs lately though. Its a once a week gig, and a nice change of pace to our everyday responsibilities. Plus, they’re hot dogs!


Photo courtesy of: Kendal Dennis and Food & Wine Magazine

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Eric Steigleder

Eric Steigleder is a freelance writer, political junkie, coffee-addict and proud Globehopper regular.

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