Lincoln teen advances in culinary competition

Lincoln teen advances in culinary competition

LINCOLN – At age 16, Chloe Newton, has big dreams. After obtaining her degree in culinary arts and restaurant management, she aspires to open her own fine dining establishment.

“You can make food really beautiful,” she told The Valley Breeze. “I’ve always been really into the way people can transform food through fine dining.”

Newton, of Lincoln, is a junior at Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Penn., a cost-free, private residential school for children from lower-income families, where she takes specialized classes through the school’s Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Services career pathway.

Newton said she has been interested in cooking since she was a child, first learning from her mother how to make scrambled eggs for her younger siblings. In middle school, she said her love for food truly blossomed when her mother introduced her to foods from other cultures.

“I discovered that food was a universal language that I wanted to be a part of,” she said.

She recently put her culinary skills to the test in front of industry leaders at the 2019 Pennsylvania ProStart Culinary Invitational, where her team beat out nine other teams to secure their place in the national ProStart Culinary Invitational in Washington, D.C., this May. One team from each state will compete, and winners will receive educational scholarships.

To reach the national level, Newton’s team needed to successfully create a three-course meal in under an hour using only two butane burners.

They selected their menu based on its ties to Pennsylvania and the Milton Hershey School, including the decision to serve apple tart with caramel sauce as a nod to the school’s founder, whose first business was in caramel-making. “We wanted to honor his triumphs,” Newton said.

Their smoked tomato salad appetizer and venison loin entrée – served with sautéed summer squash ribbons, a raspberry port wine sauce, sumac onion salad and fondant potatoes filled with finely chopped mushrooms – earned the team top place with the judges.

“It was really cool cooking with everybody and seeing how, through practice, we learned to work together better as a team,” Newton said. “I was nervous, but as soon as I started cooking that went away. When we won I was crying … it was really exciting.”

Newton said she’s enjoyed her experience at Milton Hershey honing her craft and learning from her chefs, who “push and motivate me to be the best I can. They care,” she said, “and they don’t sugar coat when I mess up.”

When she graduates from Milton Hershey, she hopes to attend The Culinary Institute of America, earning an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in restaurant management before opening a restaurant of her own.