Cowboy Chef Mike Newton set to appear on new cooking challenge. And I’ve got the scoop.
By SARA VANDEN BERGE
Known as “Cowboy Chef Newton,” the native Texan and Lipan resident is known for putting a unique spin on food that is popular in the Lone Star State.
“I always say that Texas food should not be pigeonholed,” Newton said. “My cooking style is a mish-mash inspired by French and Mexican cuisine. I like to change the nuances of ordinary dishes by adding something unexpected.”
(Think chipotle mashed potatoes.)
Newton’s interest in food started at a young age when he was about 10 or 11.
“My grandmother and my two aunts were great cooks and I learned a lot from them,” he said. “The first time my aunt made me crepes Suzette, I was hooked.”
Newton went on to work at several high-end restaurants across Texas, where he spent years learning from the state’s top chefs.
His popularity skyrocketed after his appearance on MasterChef.
“It was a fun, fun time,” Newton said about the filming that took place in Arizona in January.
Here is how the show works: Four chefs are given $500 each to purchase ingredients from unsuspecting shoppers leaving the supermarket.
The one-hour show is hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli who assigns the chefs a dish to make during each round.
During the first round, the chefs make a blind purchase.
In the second round they are able to look into shopper’s baskets and buy what they want, and on the third round they are limited to only five items.
“It really tests your skills,” Newton said. “And it’s pretty funny because there is a kitchen set up in the parking lot and the chefs are wearing aprons and we have to hustle shoppers out of their goods.”
Newton stars in the show along with chefs from California, New York and Washington State.
“Two of the chefs were winners on Chopped,” he said.
The last chef standing wins $10,000, but you will have to watch to find out how Newton does.
DINNER WITH THE CHEF
Since appearing on MasterChef, Newton has used his celebrity status to raise over $500,000 for charities.
In fact, The Husband and I were invited by our good friends, Rhyne and Sarah Gailey, to a private dinner at the chef’s home on Saturday night.
The Gaileys purchased the dinner at a fundraiser in Stephenville last year.
Chef Newton and his wife Melanie were amazing hosts, welcoming 10 of us into their home as if we were old friends.
And the dinner? Well, that was just spectacular.
The first course began with seared poblano peppers stuffed with a venison Bolognese and topped with cheese, avocado and a smoky tomato sauce.
(I thought I had died and gone to foody heaven.)
But the real star of the show was a pan-seared steak cooked in a cast-iron skillet with chipotle butter.
The melt-in-your-mouth steak was topped with garlic, rosemary, fresh cracked black pepper and truffle salt and was served with asparagus and those chipotle mashed potatoes I mentioned earlier.
The finale was a dessert Newton is known for - Crème Brulee.
It was an evening we will not soon forget.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR NEWTON
There are a couple of new cooking shows in the works for Chef Newton who says he will continue to host private events and focus on his catering business.
And about that No. 1 question he is constantly asked: Will he ever open a restaurant of his own?
“That’s certainly a possibility,” he said. “We are looking at a couple of options now.”
Meanwhile, Newton says he will continue doing what he loves most - bringing people together with amazing food.
“No matter how wealthy or poor you are, some of the best memories we make are around the table – around food.
“I always say, ‘Do what you love,’ and I love cooking.”