When in doubt, put away the salt and add citrus either lime juice or ground-up cilantro seeds.
Chipotle sauce adds a depth of flavor to classic chili.
Include apple sauce in that apple muffins recipe and thank him later.
With tips such as these and plenty more up his sleeve, John Newton is schooling hungry Buena Park High students on the culinary arts.
My goal for them is to expand their knowledge of food, said the chef-turned-schoolteacher. I want them to learn how to cook for themselves, become self-sufficient for when they get out of high school, be able to make a budget for food and not rely on someone else to make them meals.
Previously a chef at Disneyland and in fine dining restaurants and wine bars, Newton now heads a culinary arts program with 175 students, freshmen through seniors, across two skill levels.
Six periods a day, the 32-year-old and his pupils bring recipes to life.
A North Orange County Regional Occupational Program, Buena Parks culinary class, an elective, is UC-certified, so kids receive college credit for completing the curriculum. (La Habra High and Sonora High also offer North Orange County ROP culinary courses; Fullerton Highs is through the district.)
Were a career pathway class, Newton said. A lot of what we do, I relate it to other careers. No matter what career my students choose, they have to be able to get a job done well and on time.
From practicing knife cuts on potatoes, bell peppers and tomatoes to laying blueprints for their own sandwich shop, Newtons students receive the full culinary experience. On occasion, Newton shows his apprentices the Food Network show Worst Cooks in America, that way they can see the mistakes he doesnt want them making.
Still, with novices in the kitchen, mishaps are bound to happen. Thankfully, Newton said, no mistake has been irreparable.
At years end, some students will receive a list of ingredients and have to make a dish with no recipe to reference.
My goal is to get kids to come out of their shell, to communicate, Newton said. Even if you dont understand what youre doing, at least have the confidence to ask questions.
At Silverado Days earlier this month, the chili cooked by a group of seven Buena Park High students won first place and the people's choice award in the festivals annual contest.
I love how food brings people together, Newton said. No matter what culture, what country we come from, everybody can share food. Everybody can sit down to share a meal, to enjoy food, with a smile.
The best part of my job is putting those smiles on their faces.
Source: OC Register