A native of Roslyn Heights, New York, Mitgang’s culinary inspiration did not come from his family’s kitchen; rather, he developed his passion watching cooking shows in his spare time. After graduating from the University of Buffalo with a degree in business management, he decided to turn his passion into a career and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute, where the intense training eventually earned him a position as sous chef and then executive chef at the seafood-driven Ruby Room (now Lisenda) in Roslyn.
Seeking a greater challenge, Mitgang accepted a position at SoHo’s Kittichai in 2004, where he was promoted to sous chef within a week of the restaurant’s opening and to chef de cuisine soon thereafter. Mitgang’s work with executive chef Ian Chalermkittichai earned the restaurant awards for “Best New Restaurant” from Travel + Leisure and “Best New Asian Restaurant” from Food & Wine.
Mitgang soon decided to start his own venture and turned his attention to a restaurant idea he’d been working on devoted to refined, global ceviche. In 2007 he opened Crave Ceviche Bar in Midtown Manhattan with business partners Brian Owens and Dino Andreakos. The restaurant was an instant hit with both customers and critics, who lauded the restaurant for its unexpected menu and warm, comfortable ambiance. When it was destroyed in a tragic crane accident in 2008, the community showed their unanimous support for Todd and his team, hoping that Crave would return to the neighborhood it called home.
In the following months, Mitgang took on a number of consulting projects for restaurants including Cascabel Taqueria in New York City, where his menu of upscale, chili-laced tacos, cemitas and guacamole earned the casual restaurant praise from New York magazine and Time Out New York. In June 2010, he returned to his Long Island roots as the opening executive chef of South Edison in Montauk, a beachfront destination beloved by locals and visitors alike for its relaxed atmosphere and fresh approach to seafood.
Two years later, Mitgang and Brian Owens have brought back the spirit of the original Crave with Crave Fishbar, where Mitgang continues to explore creative new ways to prepare seafood for his guests to enjoy. When he’s not in the kitchen, Mitgang cooks at home and explores New York City’s restaurant scene with his wife and their son, Hugh.