Italian Experience: Externship Assignments

By Lauren Fuschillo, ICC Italian Culinary Arts student.
(Read Part 5 here)

Yesterday was a long, long day. It was great but very long. We had an excellent demonstration from Chef Gaetano Trovato from Arnolfo restaurant in Siena. The dishes were amazing and the chef had a great philosophy on cooking and cuisine, but let me tell you why it was a long day!

Yesterday we were all awaiting big news. Do you know that feeling when you’re about to hear important information? Or that feeling when your heart is beating a fafillion (that’s a made up number but think “huge”) times a minute and your stomach feels like it’s on a roller coaster? Imagine feeling like that ALL.DAY.LONG.

We were waiting for our stage assignments to be announced.

The demonstration came to a conclusion at 5PM. So, for an hour I paced back and forth through the courtyard, along with my classmates who were chain smoking, nervously biting their nails and, naturally, drinking espresso which didn’t help our anxiousness. I even called my mom!

Maybe it’s silly we were so nervous but it’s a pretty big deal. We were waiting to find out where we’ll be moving in two weeks, who we’ll work under for 2-5 months and at what restaurant. That’s kind of a big deal because it’s a major life change – especially because we’ll be parting ways and going out on our own, out of the classroom.


Not only was I nervous to find out where I was being assigned but I was a little sad to be leaving my friends. The day before, I was sitting with my classmates on our way to the American Chef’s Rally at the Expo. I looked over at Schaffer bopping his head to his music; Viscaino talking with Michael; Andrea was all snuggled up under a blanket, and Jason and I were chatting about how crazy it is that we’re going to be leaving in just two weeks.


I’m going to miss Andrea saying it’s too cold and having to turn down the AC even though I’m sweating profusely. I’m going to miss my cigarette breaks with Marianne, where we talk about everything under the sun. I hate being touched, but believe it or not, I’m going to miss Benito giving me a hug and a kiss every morning. I will really miss that! I’m going to miss Giuseppe. I’ve gotten so used to spending almost 24 hours a day with him for the last few months. I’m going to miss my chats with Michael. I’m going to miss everything about Sara: her humor, her smile, her voice, even her complaints, but most of all – her good heart. I’m going to miss my rocks…Jason, my older brother and my little brother, Mikey.

I’m going to miss all these people along with the friends I’ve made upon reaching ALMA. Thank you Rachelle, Karny, Ian, Kai, my darlings Chaitanya and Andres, my little sister; Caroline, Vlad, Tatiana, Ceren, Nacho, Dianaa, Monica, Adriana and all of our amazing teachers, especially Michele Crippa! I’m going to miss all of you and I am so grateful for our time together. You’ve taught me so much and you’re all so inspiring. Thank you. I adore you.


However, goodbyes must happen because we have greater things in store for us. Our future starts now and we’re about to embark on the last part of this educational journey… our stages. Even though we’ll all be separated, we will all share this special bond forever.


Finally, at 6PM I saw Chef Giovanni Ciresa making his way over to the auditorium. We all ran back inside and found our seats. We were sweating (not Andrea), we were breathing heavily but we were excited! It felt like we were in high school and waiting to find out our SAT scores all over again.

They announced each assignment one by one, accompanying the announcement with a photo and map of where each student will be.


We went in alphabetical order, so I was fifth to hear the news. My stomach was rumbling and my hands were shaking, and then it all stopped. “Lauren Fuschillo will be going to Cagliari, Sardegna to work with Chef Stefano Deidda at Dal Corsaro Restaurant.” AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I wanted to jump up and scream. This is the location I wanted to be in and the restaurant I was hoping I’d work in. I am not just relieved, I am elated.

A huge thank you to Chef Giovanni Cerasa, Chef Bruno Ruffini, Chef Guido Magnaguagno and all of the teachers and administrators at both ALMA and ICC for my stage assignment. I couldn’t be more grateful and I am so excited for the next leg of this amazing journey!