Today is my last day at the Culinary Institute for the next three months. This final week has been outstandingly beautiful here in the Hudson Valley, and the campus is in bloom and looking better than ever. The hot sun reflecting off the Hudson River and the green trees finally filling back in on the hills that border our view reminds me of my first few weeks here in September. Then, I was nervous about the new challenges ahead of me and felt unsure that this place was for me. Still, I also felt invigorated to focus and take everything in, including the area’s peaceful beauty. Zesty sorrel leaves and large rhubarb stalks are starting to flourish in the teaching garden, and our crocuses are now coming up to soon have red saffron threads on them again in the fall. The peach and fig trees are starting to come back to life, and new fruit tree saplings have been planted. People are sitting by the river, eating while talking, telling stories from the semester, and celebrating the end of a long New York winter, and it feels like the excitement of food and nature around is buzzing again.
Most of the students in my class are heading off to complete our externship in the summer. From Michelin-starred restaurants to overseas and five-star resorts, we’re getting ready to head off to our places where we can show what we came to the school to do. It’s interesting to see where each person chose to extern, as it seems to be telling of where they want to see themselves in a year when we graduate from the school. So, as I prepare for Vermont, I’m anticipating this exciting opportunity to expand my farm-to-table training and understanding.