Graduation was this past Friday – what a day! My classmates and I weren’t sure exactly what to expect, though we knew there would be some awards, toques and diplomas dispersed, and a serious sendoff. The afternoon started with my classmates and I taking a professional class picture with our chefs. I believe those are getting mailed to us once they’re developed – I can’t wait to see it!
Next, we headed to the amphitheater where our families were waiting for us, for the actual ceremony. Each of our chefs from levels 1-6 spoke to us and the crowd, giving us words of wisdom for the future and anecdotes from the last six months. Some of those chefs saw us in level one, and then again in level six and saw the long way many of us had come. It was nice to reflect on that. Following those words, each of us was called up to receive our diploma and toque.
After that, it was award time. There were awards given out for perfect attendance, community service, a 95 GPA or higher and best menu projects. One person in our class received the award of distinction for having a cumulative GPA of 95 or better, Brian Kauffman – what an achievement! I received two awards, one for community service – I volunteered throughout the last six months at several events, student focus groups, recreational classes and the like. I also received, along with two other classmates, an award for getting a perfect score on my menu project.
Following the ceremony, everyone gathered in the back of the amphitheater for canapes, champagne and more photos! I was so happy to have my mom, Michelle, Jason, Jason’s mom, Auntie Donna and Uncle Paul there. They made the day really special.
After graduation, we celebrated with some champagne back in our apartment then headed out to dinner at Locanda Verde. Our meal was amazing, the perfect end to a perfect day. We started with three different crostini, sheep’s milk ricotta with herbs and sea salt, an arugula salad with figs, asiago and speck, a tomato watermelon salad with smoked ricotta, and lamb meatball sliders – YUM and WOW! For our entrees, everyone had something different. Auntie Donna and Uncle Paul split the bisteca for two, which came with rustic potatoes and a tomato salad. My mom and I had the pork chop, served with white beans and a sweet onions. Jason had pasta with a lamb ragu, mint and sheep’s milk ricotta. My sister and Barbara had diver scallops served with farro, tomato mostarda and salsa rossa. Believe it or not, we had dessert after that, every single one on the menu! To name a few, we had the toasted almond semifreddo, sweet corn budino, chocolate-pistachio tart and lemon tart, which all came with different flavors of gelato! It was heavenly – I hope Jason and I have time to go back one more time before we move!
It was such a wonderful day and evening – I hope everyone (friends and family) had as much fun as I did! I will never forget it.