01 August 2008

"Stagista" that's Italian for Apprentice

The time is getting away from me much like my small plot of garden. When I'm not looking, it's gone and changed months on me a couple of times. Hence I am running to get a few posts up that have been languishing in the background whilst we scurry about cooking, cleaning, and generally hanging out with our guests a bit so we can make sure they don't miss any of the things to do or see in our valley. So it's catch up time here on the blog along with my herbs, weeds and flower pots.
Final Project
In our effort put our part of the world on the map we are always working in a variety of directions, using our interests and contacts to lead in directions not always completely obvious from the outset. One such side trip started to take root the when we were visiting in Colorado a couple of winters back. Our desire is to promote our local cuisine to a broader audience and hopefully bring not only greater recognition for the areas traditions, but also to bring people from other parts of the world here to share in our love of the local culture and Piemontese cuisine. We taught in Colorado when we have gone back to visit in private homes and through Colorado Mountain College, the local community college. When I lived in Colorado, I taught a few times through CMC and also through my job at Copper Mountain, when we offered a series of high altitude dinner and classes, in addition to wine pairings and other such offerings. I even taught the first pastry course for theKeystone's Culinary Arts program, that is now affiliated with Colorado Mountain College's Hospitality and Tourism program. I still have quite a few contacts there, even though it's been a while since I lived there.
One such contact came through in the form of an email this past winter from Kevin Clarke, who heads the 3 year Culinary Arts degree program for Keystone and CMC, asking me if I might have any contacts for an opportunity for one his graduates to work in Italy after her graduation in May. With Fabrizio's network of area contacts, he came up with a 6 month "Stagista" position for our CMC graduate, Rachel Giamanco, from none other than Dillon, Colorado in Summit County.
Rachel's ice carving
After many emails, Rachel finished her degree, graduated, celebrated her 22nd birthday, all in one week, broke her tailbone somewhere along the line and then flew 10+ hours to arrive At Torino airport, make her way on the buses to the bottom of our road here in Pinasca, June 1. Whew, what an accomplishment for a talented and mature young woman, who although is of Italian descent, doesn't speak Italian and had not been to Europe before. We were most impressed with her initial show of determination, independence and ability to make her way in the world, all by herself. We had already heard many positive recommendations from her director and knew she had received a scholarship from the Colorado Restaurant Association upon her completion of high school and their Pro Start program, which helped launch her onto solid footing to complete her CMC- 3 year associates/apprenticeship degree before arriving here in June. She has lived up to all the positives and more.
Rachel spent a week with us resting up, and orienting to life in Italy with a little interlude here at Bella Baita. She mixed in well with our guests and started to study Italian a bit more earnestly. When we had some free time we tried to take her around to see a bit of our valley before it was off to La Locanda della Maison Verte, Rachel's new home in Italy.
Maison Verte, is a lovely 28 room, family run hotel in nearby Cantalupa. Rachel is working in the kitchen for the season and has already picked another part time job in nearby Frossasco where she will be learning about the bakery aspect in addition to her regular kitchen shifts. It seems the Ferrero family has already adopted her as part of the family, making her time here even more special. She's seems to be settled in now and I have asked her to share a recipe with us when she has some time to gather her thoughts. Maybe if she has some spare time she might wander over to our friends at Dora Vini and try their wines when she has some spare time, as it's just down the street. I'll be making some more entries about her experience as we go along, hopefully. Stay tuned.
We recently all went over towards Asti in the Monferrato region and visit some friends of ours as well as took in a very nice castle/villa tasting some very fine wines. I'll save that one for another post here shortly. Now I need to make some pastries for tomorrow's breakfast, finish the pesto and make some fresh mint syrup.

Click to play Rachel Arrives in Italy
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Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Fabulous post and what a fine job you are doing in promoting your area and its food. That ice sculpture is stunning and I admire Rachel. Oh, I menat to say your kitchen looks wonderful, too! Auguri dalla Sicilia .

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh Marla, What a great post! How lucky for Rachel to have such a wonderful opportunity to live and learn about your area. She looks like a sweet girl,I'll be looking forward for an update on how things are going for all of you.

Bella Baita Marla said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Rachel is a very excited to be here and take it all in, so it is always fun to help with the showing around as well.

joe@italyville.com said...

What a great opportunity... I'm sure she will remember it for the rest of her life.

CatherineJessicaC_NI said...

Ah.so that's what was on the fruit at breakfast times?!fresh mint syrup.. mm

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