By Lauren Fuschillo, ICC Italian Culinary Arts student.
(Read Part 2 here)
Last Friday, June 19th, was a big day for me – as it marks the biggest turning point in my life.
Exactly one year ago I decided to stop existing – and to start living.
I decided to make a change. I chose to stop hesitating out of fear of failure and to just go for it, head on, whatever “it” may be. I chose to do things I was afraid of, step outside my comfort zone and dive right in – to life. I decided that no longer would I seek the approval, or even the reassurance of everyone else; that I would just trust myself and to go with my gut. I decided to make my life what I, Lauren, want it to be.
I did this after going through what was the hardest time in my life. I ended my engagement, was sick in the hospital for a bit, ended a lot of friendships, lost my job and found myself in an ugly depression. But then someone extended a helping hand and I experienced a random act of kindness. It made me realize my problems weren’t that bad. People had it much worse and I, too, should lend a helping had of my own; I should pay it forward and deliver random acts of kindness too. That day (the big day) I applied for two volunteer missions that would bring me to Abu Dhabi, South Africa, Thailand and Bali. I raised over 8K and planned the trip of a lifetime that would last a little over three months. Anyway, I was living. Finally living and being who I’m meant to be.
Before I left, which was October 14th, 2014, I started wondering what I’d come home to; what I would do next when I would return in 2015. I was sitting on my sisters bed, helping her unpack from a recent trip to California when she said “you’ve always wanted to go to culinary school. Right now you’re doing things you want to do. Why not go to culinary school and continue on this path of being determined to be your true self.” My little sister is so wise! I figured “why not continue to do things I truly want to do? I wake up to live the hell out of life and why not keep doing that?!” That’s when I applied to ICC’s Italian Culinary Arts Program.
Fast forward about 10 months and I’m still living by that mantra and experiencing so much.
At ALMA, we’re applying and advancing the knowledge, techniques and culinary secrets we learned at ICC. We’re perfecting our rhythm in the kitchen and, no doubt, getting a truer sense of exactly how Italian cuisine is meant to be, how things originated, are meant to be served and how we’re supposed to enjoy them.
As I watch one of my best friends, who is also my classmate, Jason Lopez, plate and put the final touches on what is the most perfectly delicious risotto, I realize that he must have had that big day too. Like me, something drove him to decide to go to culinary school, travel to Italy to study Italian culinary arts and expand his food knowledge and palette…something that drove him to be this great.
I share this with you because it’s an honor to work alongside him as well as have his friendship. I share this with you because this experience wouldn’t be the same without his presence.
I feel so fortunate to be able to say that I feel that way about all 9 members of our little family from ICC. I share this with you because I’d love for you, the readers, to get to know these amazing people who are rockstar future chefs, and hear about some of their journeys too! I’ll be featuring one classmate a week and some of his or her culinary school and traveling experiences.
Until next time, ciao!