Dutch and Co. partners (from left) Caleb Shriver, Michelle Peake and Phillip Perrow Photo by Isaac Harrell
The team behind Dutch and Co., soon to open in Church Hill, has been working together for years — just not all at the same place. Caleb Shriver, an Oklahoma native who has been sharing chef duties at Aziza's on Main with partner Phillip Perrow, met the group's other partner, Michelle Peake, five years ago at the former Chicago restaurant Otom, where Shriver was a sous chef and Peake ran the bar program.
Peake, who grew up in Clinton, N.J., and Perrow, the team's original Richmonder, got to know each other at Acacia Mid-town, where she's worked off and on since the restaurant opened at its previous location in Carytown in 1998. Perrow started as an intern there 10 years ago and most recently worked as a sous chef.
Shriver met Perrow while visiting Peake three years ago. By then, Shriver was working at Sugar Toad in Naperville, Ill., and Perrow decided to go see Chicago and do a short, unpaid stint cooking with Shriver.
After Shriver followed Peake — now his fiancée — to Richmond two years ago, the trio started talking about opening their own place. When they walked into the former laundromat at 400 N. 27th St., they looked at each other and said, "This is it."
Sitting down with them for coffee in the back patio at GlobeHopper, their rapport is obvious. All three have been working in restaurants since they were 17, and they have more than three decades of experience between them. Perrow and Peake both attended Johnson & Wales University, though in different locations and programs, and Shriver (who won Richmond magazine's Elby award for Rising Culinary Star in February) learned classic French techniques in an apprenticeship with Kurt Flieschfresser in Oklahoma City.
"I think we complement each other well in our styles," Perrow says. "Caleb has a meat-heavy background. Working at Acacia, I have a more fish-heavy background."
"It's surprising how well we've worked together," Shriver says. "Every night, we get together and talk about the menu."
Peake, who was Acacia's bar manager, will run the front of the house and oversee the wine, beer and cocktails, "and keep these two guys in line," she jokes. Her mother was born in the Netherlands, and the restaurant's name recognizes that heritage.
The food will be inspired by local meats and produce, but Peake says, "It's hard to put our style of food in a category."
"We like to support our local farmers," Shriver adds.
"The bottom line," continues Perrow, "we want it to be delicious."