The Recipe for Success Milton Abel, Jr. ’02, Head Pastry Chef, Amass COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
he culinary upper echelon
multiple awards including winning the
restaurant, Per Se, in order to broaden
is an elite group of restaurants
state duet competition his senior year.
and professionals at their field’s
Baseball, serving as class president three
While navigating the New York
pinnacle. Barstow alumnus Milton Abel
of four years, and being elected 2002
lives among them as an up-and-coming
Homecoming King enriched his Barstow
achieving his dream of being a French
Laundry pastry manager merited
Many elements of Milt’s life blended to create a culinary innovator.
Milt pursued acting after Barstow. Between acting jobs at the Coterie and
culinary scene, Milt realized that
experiencing other styles of cuisine. A move to Copenhagen to join the staff of
The son of legendary Kansas City jazz
elsewhere, he served with the Dramatic
renowned two-Michelin star restaurant,
musician Milton Abel, Milt grew up
Aids Education Project and worked
Noma, felt like the right next thing.
immersed in music, and from age 5,
at Grand Street Café and American
Milt performed, too.
“Performing was a natural thing
Working at Noma (ranked best restaurant in the world 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 by Restaurant Magazine)
for me to do,” Milt explains. His
exposed him to innovative cuisine. And
mother supported him with a
in Denmark, life added a one-of-a-kind
resilient attitude that also became
ingredient: a computer scientist named
part of his dna. Acting profession-
Sarah Maria Niebe-Abel, now Milt’s wife.
ally at age 12, he performed with
Navigating personal changes and
the Coterie Theater, KC Repertory
professional desires, he deftly arranged a
Theater and others.
departure from Noma to accept his
Milt attended an arts elemen-
dream offer from French Laundry.
tary school in Kansas City, but
Once there, Milt felt something
Milt’s mom knew it didn’t offer
wasn’t right in the combination,
the right balance. Former Head
so he ultimately decided to land
of Admissions Sherry LeMoine,
at Amass back in Copenhagen,
helped him navigate admission at
where his professional and personal
Barstow, obtain scholarships, and
relationships are now flourishing.
begin eighth grade as a Knight.
It takes great strength of
“I loved being [at Barstow],” Milt says. “They encouraged balanced partici-
character to achieve your dream, then He dreamed of working at the French
recognize that a balanced life entails
pation in extracurricular activities. I was
Laundry, a premier contemporary
more than just a career, and make the
part of Pretenders, the spring play and
American-influenced French restaurant
adjustments with finesse.
the fall musical. I thrived in theatre and
in California. Milt poured his energy into
months of emails until he got a tryout for
Barstow was, how important Barstow
a role on the pastry team.
is to who I am. It gave me the tools
Forensics and Debate Coach Debbie McBride knew Milt’s talents and suggested he join the team.
He worked four years under French
“I can’t emphasize how wonderful
to be an eloquent young man and a
Laundry’s Hubert Keller. Though he
confident man now. I don’t think I
“Coach McBride made you fall
didn’t want to leave, he requested a
could ever repay Barstow for what
in love with it,” he says. Milt earned
transfer to Keller’s new East Coast
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