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‘Simply Sarah’: Lehighton chef competing in ‘Greatest Baker’ competition

Over the last year, have you enjoyed a culinary creation by Ateira’s on First?

If so, you may have already tried some of Sarah Schweitzer’s cooking.

The Lehighton woman is the sous-chef at the Lehighton area catering company and is currently competing in a worldwide competition to find the 2021 greatest baker.

The “Greatest Baker” competition is co-hosted by Alice Fevronia and Sophie Faldo, two United Kingdom queens of the kitchen who specialize in all things sweet. It is the world’s largest online competition for bakers. The winner will be featured in “Bake from Scratch” Magazine and receive $20,000.

The 25-year-old, who is also a bimonthly contributor on the Times News food page, said she entered the competition in hopes of being able to gain financial independence for her future endeavors in the culinary world.

She is currently sitting in first place in her group and will move on to the quarterfinals on June 11 if she remains in the top spot.

When asked why she entered the contest, Schweitzer said it was a no-brainer.

“I would love to bring more attention to local cooking and baking that we offer in Carbon County, especially by entering the contest,” she said, adding that there are both free voting options, as well as donation voting, which supports the No Kid Hungry Foundation.

The winner of the final round of the competition will be announced on July 1. Schweitzer has an extensive background in the culinary world, having graduated from Commonwealth Charter Academy in 2013 and going on to become dual certified in culinary arts and baking and pastry from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.

But her passion for cooking and baking began way before her college years.

“I learned to cook and bake alongside my Mom-Mom for many years,” Schweitzer said. “I learned how to make paska bread, pierogies, meatloaf, mac and cheese, cakes, pies and all sorts of cooking and baking items from her.

“As I got older, that love of cooking and baking turned into a lifetime passion and dream to do what I love to do every day.

“I decided to go into this profession because it is challenging, exciting and competitive. There is always something new to learn or to study. It’s fun, and cooking and baking brings me great joy.”

Her background has led her to positions in various restaurants, notably as a former line cook for Chef Robert Irvine at his former Fresh Kitchen by Robert Irvine location in Allentown and now at Ateira’s on First.

She credits both places for allowing her dream to flourish over the past few years.

When not creating culinary masterpieces for her job, Schweitzer can be found in her own kitchen whipping up something for her family, for her blog https://simplysarah.online or for the Times News.

“I make my own phyllo dough, sourdough bread starters, puffed pastry, specialty desserts, soup stocks, pasta, hand-rolled croissants, kimchi and fermented foods,” she said. “If I have the time and can make something completely from scratch, I will.

“When you have fresh organic farm and wonderful ingredients, that inspires me to make everything by hand and from scratch as much as possible.”

To support Schweitzer in this competition and to see some of her sweet creations, visit https://greatestbaker.com/2021/sarah-schweitzer and click on either “Hero Vote” to purchase votes or “Free Daily Vote.”

Sarah Schweitzer shows off bread that she had baked. The Lehighton area chef is currently competing in an online competition “The Greatest Baker.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Blueberry cheesecake cupcakes