An Arkansas native, Newton has lived and worked around the world, including as a member of the United States Army serving three years in Operation Desert Storm, before returning home to study International Business and German at Arkansas State University. Newton then moved north to earn a culinary degree at New England Culinary Institute and work in some of New York City’s most respected restaurants and kitchens, including Le Cirque, Union Square Hospitality Group’s Tabla, Aquavit and the Four Seasons.
Newton’s first executive chef role was at Simon Pearce Restaurant in Quechee, Vermont, where he oversaw a staff of 20, including four sous chefs. After three years in Vermont, he transitioned to a private chef role, cooking around the world for celebrities, musicians, and entertainment executives for six years, before settling in Brooklyn to focus on building his own restaurants, including Seersucker Restaurant, Smith Canteen, Nightingale Nine, Wilma Jean and Wilma Jean in DeKalb Market Hall. Simultaneously, Newton consulted on two restaurant projects: Black Walnut in the Brooklyn Hilton and Yellow Magnolia in Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Newton continues to own and operate Nightingale Nine in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood, a reflection of his love of Vietnamese and Southeastern Asian cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients.
Newton recently moved to Nashville to take on the role of Executive Chef at Gray & Dudley at the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville. At Gray & Dudley, Newton’s menu celebrates Southern sensibilities — a reflection of Newton’s roots, informed by his travels abroad, and influenced by the new immigrant communities that have been welcomed across the region. Dishes showcase seasonal ingredients, sourced from local farmers and purveyors that Newton has developed relationships with over his time in the area.