Today was our second day at ALMA and I already feel like we've been here a month. Our days are so much longer than they were at the French Culinary Institute that two-and-a-half months here is going to feel like two years.
This morning our class finally split into our two groups, the Italian speakers and the non-Italian speakers. Those in the non-Italian speaking class had to get to school early at 8am for their first language course. Those of us lucky enough to have some proficiency in the language were rewarded by and extra hour of sleep. At 9:30am we reconviened for our first history class. We knew all along that part of the program at ALMA was a full education in Italian regional culinary history; however, we also anticipated meeting our history teacher who was a character of epic proportions. The people we had met who had returned from ALMA from the last rotation described this guy as a passionate Australian eccentric and he was exactly that. From the first minute of class this guy was off like a rocket, he had more information in his brain than I could ever fit into my head and more natural energy than I can muster after chugging two Red Bulls. His lesson on the North-Eastern region of Fruili-Venezia Gulia lasted for two hours and captured everyone's attention despite the fact that we are all still jet-lagged, and his vivid descriptions of the regions best dishes had everyone's mouths watering well before lunch time. Needless to say we were the first ones in line for family meal at 1pm.
After we had sated our appetites it was time for our first chef demo. Interestingly enough it was a young female chef named Antonia Klugmann and she seriously kicked ass. She made a total of nine dishes off of her restaurants menu and each of them were exquisitely prepared and progressively modern. At only thirty-years-old she owns and solely operates her own restaurant that honors her joint love for fresh local produce and dishes from her native Friulia, she also recently won a young Italian chef competition called "La prova dell cuoco".
Today was simply one of the best days ever. We sat and watched this woman literally dominate the kitchen and tasted some of the most inventive dishes I've seen in Italy yet.
But now, alas, it is time to do an ab and booty work out with my roommate Chelsea because all this pasta and glutony is no good for staying skinny while abroad.