The spirit of New York was definitely in the air tonight. Yes I am still in Guardiagrele and yes I spent tonight in the kitchen doing mostly prep work, but my mind was back in the big apple.
not only has the news spread that we finally caught and killed Osama Bin Laden, but I re-connected to my old high school Italian teacher. Signora Longo is pretty much the reason I found my passion and was one of those once-in-a-life-time teachers people always talk about. Anyway I found her in the most unlikely of places, on Facebook! On whim I searched her name, convinced she would never have a Facebook profile, but there she was. I wrote her the letter I had always wanted to write her, thanking her for her influence on my life and the inspiration she gave me. I had been wanting to reconnect with her for about a year now, especially since I started at the Italian Culinary Academy. Every time people seemed curious as to how I, a little Jewish girl from Scarsdale came to be fluent in Italian and passionate about Italian food I always answered: "I had a really amazing teacher"
I could never thank her enough, but I tried, and I'm sure I got the message across. Anyway, she replied and said she remembered my enthusiasm from class and that she was proud and excited about my life and would love to get together when I return to the States.
Another reason New York was on my mind tonight was because our last customers of the evening happened to be the family of a chef from New York. They were all from Binghamton and came into the kitchen after their meal to thank us and visit for a few minutes. They were instantly surprised when I said "Nice to meet you!". We chatted a bit about how we both ended up here in this tiny little Italian town. It was so nice to speak English with someone, anyone who could understand exactly what I was saying. It was also nice to have a fellow New Yorker in front of me, someone who knows my beloved city.
With all this hometown love in the air I couldn't help but miss my family. I miss my parents a lot, I can't wait to go to their house in South Carolina and show them what I'm made of. I know they think I'm talented and special and all those other things that parents think of their children. But I want to prove to them that I was born to do what I'm doing. That this is the right and only path for me and that I am going to kick as sin this industry. I'm going to do the whole nine yards, fresh pasta, home-made bread, slow braised meats and hand-rolled gnocchi. They wont eat for a week after I'm finished with them.
So until then I've got to get focused on finals, finish my paper (which is brilliant so far if I do say so myself), and get ready to make my grand return to the U.S.A.