I made it through my first week here at Villa Maiella. I can't believe it went by so fast, but I guess when you are working all the time the days just seem to fly by.
I feel very welcomed here. I have finally gotten more comfortable with everyone and am now much more relaxed in the kitchen than when I first started. The other day I started talking to everyone about my finals and got some input on what I should make. Angela told me she would help me with the dessert and Arcangelo will let me practice some of my dishes in the kitchen when I need to.The other day after lunch service I went on a hike with Luca and Chef. I was so excited since I haven't been hiking since Israel and the mountains here are gorgeous. We hiked right next to a river that was flowing strongly due to the melting snow from the peaks. Luca pointed out some juniper bushes where they usually forage their own berries for the restaurant. I am continuously amazed at the freshness of their ingredients here. We hiked for about an hour until we reached the biggest falls. We walked right up to it and sat on a rock while we ate a couple apples Luca had brought. The sound was incredible and the cool mist felt great on my hot and sweaty face. I didn't want to leave but we had quite a journey back to the car.
I plan to go hiking again soon, weather permitting. It seems to be one of the most fun things to do around here, and the exercise doesn't hurt either.
Today is my one day off and I am already bored. This evening though I am tagging along with Chef, Arcangelo, and Luca to an Abruzzo restaurant demo for members of multiple food and culinary organizations. Chef will be making a dish to represent the culinary innovation of Villa Maiella and to further its reputation within and outside of this region. There will be other chefs there from other restaurants by I have no doubt that we will be the best, at least that is what Luca told me was the case at many other similar events in the past. I don't know how much I will be doing, but I will be interested to watch and check out the event.
We leave at around 5:30pm so until then I will be holed up in my room watching movies, pretty much just relaxing until its off to work again.