Multi-talented Rising Culinary Star Daron Sklar Talks About His Many Creative Outlets

What grade are you in?
12th grade
When did you enter York Prep? 
6th grade

What do you remember the most about entering York Prep during your first year? 
Meeting all of my friends! We all loved the Percy Jackson series and that bonded us when we didn’t really know each other so well. I also took Geology and Earth Science. Our teacher, Mr. Kleinert, took us to Central Park where we picked out rocks that we glued googly eyes onto. We kept these rocks as pets that year. 
In sixth grade, I joined theater for the first time. Fiona (Hutchison) recruited a lot of us in sixth grade! I don’t know if I would’ve joined otherwise but I’m really glad that I did. We did Coney Island Christmas for the fall show and I was a character named Lester, and the north star. That was the first time that I talked with kids in other grades and I realized that even the seniors were not as scary–which has been my experience since. It’s interesting now that I’m the senior and I am the “authority” in the plays, I see that the younger students are realizing that I am not as intimidating as they thought. During this year’s fall play, where I did the makeup backstage, I even taught a middle schooler how to do eye shadow after she complimented my work!
What clubs/sports do you participate in? 
I am in the Drama Club and the Crochet Club. I am also on the Yearbook staff. 
For Drama Club I have managed props, which involves sourcing, managing, and positioning all of the props. I was the head of makeup this Fall for Marvin’s Room. This involved special effects makeup. This spring, I will be a puppeteer for Audrey II in the YP musical production of Little Shop of Horrors.
Prior to joining the Crochet Club, I already had some crocheting skills but I’ve learned more, and have since crocheted nearly 200 squares for a quilt that will go to college with me. I've also made a collection of little crocheted animal figurines.

I joined the Yearbook because I wanted to contribute my skills as a digital artist, as well as my sharp eye for color. I have enjoyed laying out the senior baby photos and the Superlatives section.
Tell us about your interests and hobbies outside of school.
I love to look at food from a chemistry viewpoint. I want to understand how ingredients interact. I am currently a pastry chef at Manny’s Bistro and Kappo Masa. I have also been a stagiare with Camari Mick at the Musket Room and Katie Mitchell at Portal. Next fall I will start as a freshman at Johnsons and Wales with a focus on culinary science and product development. My Instagram feed @daron_sklar_culinary showcases some of my culinary work.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth and when I was 10 I became a big fan of the Food Network show, Chopped. So my mom signed me up for a cooking class and since then, I’ve been taking classes and going to camps almost every summer. One summer, during middle school, I did a program called Chef Toni’s Cooking Adventures. And while the other kids would go to play in the gym, I would stay with the chef, and that is where I learned how to prep and follow recipes. From there, I continued to take classes at Sur La Table and Institute of Culinary Education. For me the macaron class, taught by Katherine Gordon, was the most memorable, and one of the reasons why macarons are one of my favorite things to make.

I also take guitar lessons, create digital art, and work on my craft as a make-up artist. I am a self-taught make-up artist who got the chance to hone in on my skills during the start of the pandemic. A lot of my influences are from drag and horror drag. This type of art pushes the boundaries of what a human could be and tells a story. 
I made my first public appearance with make up on, in Mr. Clarke’s English class last year during my presentation on “Faceshopping”, a song by the late musical artist SOPHIE. The song is about the process of transforming yourself in order to find your true self. At the end of the presentation, I showed to class photos of my face made up in different looks that I created. That was a scary presentation but now I feel better because I don’t feel like I need to hide. The reception was positive­–most students showed interest in what I was doing, and that was very freeing. Now I am more open about it.
I love Ru Paul’s famous quote about self-love, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else?” I never wore makeup outside until this summer but now I feel comfortable. Now I am going out with makeup. It feels like a suit of armor. 
What has been your best memory here at York? 

I’ve met a lot of really good people and a lot of really good teachers. Ms. Samolis has been teaching ASL for most of my time here and the relationship that the students have with her is not like the usual. There are usually only six kids in her classes. They’re very small, and we all have a lot of respect for each other, but we can still have a lot fun. ASL is very visual so we get creative.

I have a lot of really close bonds with my friends. I am also really close with John (Viscardi) and Fiona (Hutchison). They have sort of watched me grow up. Mr. Cockrell is in the music dept, and when my friends and I have some free time, we often pop into the music room. In Rock Band it was my first time playing guitar with other people. 

If you could give yourself advice as a student entering York, what would it be?
It’s ok to ask people for help. Lean on your friends for support. Don’t’ be afraid to be yourself because the school is more supportive than you think.