Time moves quickly. It seemed as though it was just yesterday I was holding my Buzz Lightyear lunch box walking nervously into my first day of kindergarten. Fast forward some years later and I'm standing at the threshold of adulthood in my senior year of high school.
A few weeks ago I gazed up at the large brick building thinking to myself how long I've waited for this moment, the day I would find myself face to face with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. l dreamed about the day I would begin a new chapter in my life here at this school, I never saw it any other way. Although much of my life has been filled with the unexpected (in a good way), there was always the CIA. It was the one certainty that guided me all of these years. I knew that when I graduated high school there was no where else I wanted to be. It was "get through 18 years of life and then attend the CIA".
In the beginning of November my parents and I traveled to New York City. Arriving at LaGuardia Airport we took a cab to Grand Central station and then took a 90 minute train ride on "the Hudson River line" (Billy Joel fans). The trees had changed colors, snow still remained on the ground and the river's water lay clear and still like a mirror. After an enjoyable scenic trip we pulled into the Poughkeepsie train station, the last stop on the line. We were whisked away to the school pulling up to a large green street sign that read "The Culinary Institute of America" (I finally made it). As we pulled around the bend of snow covered trees a grand brick building came into view. The cab drove to the admissions office where we were greeted by my newest CIA friend Susan Lavender, Manager of Recruitment. Susan treated us to a fabulous locally sourced, sustainable meal at St. Andrews Restaurant (which is one of the 5 on campus). All the restaurants at the CIA are run by students including the front and back of the house. Our lunch menu consisted of mussels with a duck sausage, a cheese board, roasted squash and beet salad, and a gargenelli Mac and cheese. A large kitchen window showcased the students working together.
After the meal we began our tour. Our first stop was Roth Hall which is the schools iconic main building. We walked through the corridors and scaled the grand staircases having an opportunity to see classes that were taking place with students wearing spotless white chef uniforms. With every corner we turned we were greeted by the aroma’s of the sauces and stocks being made. We traveled beneath the school and visited a class that butchers all the fish for the school. Old French food posters lined the hallways that transported me back to the 1920's. Three hours later our tour had ended back at the admissions office. I was so overwhelmed with joy, excitement and nerves, I was speechless (a rarity for me). Call me over dramatic but I felt like I had finally found where I belonged, a place where everyone spoke the same language and had a passion for the same thing. It's what I had been searching for since I was nine years old.
Before we left for home I submitted my application knowing that this is where I need to be. I then stopped to breathe and realized I would have to write this post, the one I'd never thought I'd write. You see it’s like when you were in kindergarten looking up at the High Schooler's, you knew that one day you’ll get there but just never saw yourself in their shoes.
In just a few months I'll be ending a chapter in my life and starting a brand new one. Like my mom said when I was 12 years old “keep following your dreams because when one door closes, another one opens". If I hadn't followed those words my present and future might have turned out completely different.
Here’s to a new door, and a new chapter.
Oh! By the way, I've been accepted....
Keep on cooking!!