While studying abroad in Italy, JWU Charlotte student Alexandra finds confidence in her blossoming baking and pastry skills.
Ciao from Florence, Italy!
We have settled into our apartments, and classes have started! I am working at Fedora Pastry Shop, which is owned by Apicius, the school that we attend in Italy. So far, it has been an amazing experience. Every morning we have pastry labs from 6am to noon, and then we have a lecture class from 3:30-6pm. The lecture class normally consists of tasting cheeses, meats or taking field trips.
So far, we have tried and happily enjoyed many of my favorite products such as cheese and coffee. We even had the privilege of taking a field trip to try a cow stomach sandwich (NOT one of my favorites).
One of the reasons why I am extremely glad that I took this opportunity to study abroad is because I would never have the same opportunities at home. Where in the United States could you walk to a food stand, order a grilled panini with cow stomach, and eat it standing in the middle of a leather market? Once in a lifetime experience, guys!
I was worried going into labs that it would be difficult to understand or show my skills considering we are in a different country. It has been completely opposite.
Our chef is one-of-a-kind. He is the type of chef that believes you should not yell, everyone should be able to ask many questions, and that we are all equal on our skill level. He sees each of us individually once a week to recap on how we are doing, and shares tips to make us better pastry chefs.
Chef Simone has so much knowledge, and every day he listens to us and tries to learn how we would create recipes or make products in the US.
One thing that has already been engraved into my mind, and that I am sure I will remember forever, is that I need to have faith in myself and my product. We all commonly find ourselves doubting how a baking process or procedure works, or how our final product looks. I think that is all part of the process of learning to believe in ourselves. Every single time I doubted something, Chef Simone reassured me it was perfect.
He was right every time.
Ciao for now!
Follow Alexandra’s exploration through Italy on Instagram.