Have you ever been completely stunned by the generosity and thoughtfulness of others? I have. After years of tirelessly working, learning and immersing myself into the world of food, wine and culture, I’ve been awarded the opportunity to travel. I am blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude. I’ve had many achievements and successes this year. None of which would have been possible without the love, support and encouragement of my family.
I never celebrated my graduation from The Culinary Institute of America, my R.C. Kopf Student Achievement Award, passing the Level 1 Introductory Exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers or the Certified Specialist of Wine Exam. I told my parents that at the end of the summer, before leaving for the Kopf Scholarship Trip, that I wanted to have our family over for dinner. To say ‘Thank You’.
I crafted an easy meal of cold preparations and “Do-Ahead” items, so that I would have time to talk to my family members. I finished all of the preparations with an hour to spare and pulled myself together to look presentable for the party. When I was finally showered and dressed, I came downstairs to a GIGANTIC sign hanging in our living room that had “CONGRATULATIONS, NORA!” in big red letters. Without me knowing, my dad crafted it. I was so touched by his thoughtful gesture and was fighting back tears (for this was the first time in a while that I had applied makeup and I knew I was going to look like a zombie when our guests arrived).
Veggies galore to celebrate the end of Summer and our beautiful local produce.
Not to be outdone, of course, by an ice cream bar for dessert! I couldn’t resist my favorite Peach-Amaretto Toasted Almond from Kimberly’s Ice Cream. I slathered mine with homemade peach-blueberry compote, cinnamon and oatmeal cookie crumble.
I’ve had a wonderful last week with my parents. I love my mom and dad more than words can say. I am sad to leave them, however; without them none of my achievements would have been possible. They’ve encouraged me and been their for me through both success and failure. I push myself to learn more and to be the best version of myself because they’ve given me all the tools possible to do so: a strong work ethic, dedication and perseverance.
NOW–on to California, Italy and France! I plan to share photos and blog along the way for the next 6-weeks so I hope you’ll stop back!