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Alumni Profiles

The Recipe for Success Milton Abel, Jr. ’02, Head Pastry Chef, Amass COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

T

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.

his experience.

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

pastry chef.

experience.

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.

Restaurant.

“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

developed academically.”

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

they’ve done.”

FALL 2015 29

The Barstow School Magazine  

Fall 2015

The Barstow School Magazine  

Fall 2015