It is our last dinner together. Barriers between the organizers (our mentors) and students shattered as the last of the day’s exercises have been completed, reviewed and gently critiqued. A time to celebrate.
The table before us, sprinkled with exotic jars gives the table a festive glow. Bejeweled toasts with vegetarian caviar, vibrant ruby, the chili flavor, citron orbs with a surprising pop of wasabi and the strikingly astringent, sweet, hot ginger surprise our senses. Onyx beads glisten rainbow prisms as light hits the top of the mounds. Wonderful treats from our event sponsors that made every day seem like a holiday celebration (or possibly a reward for good behavior.)
A cacophony of lilting voices rise as the honey dry Brisol Prosecco makes another round. Intimate conversations between friends, hair and guard let down, hearts opened. Finally a time to reveal who we really are as our focused veneer of being students or instructor dissolves, no longer insolating us as it did when concentrating on assignments and lessons in writing and photography.
Cries go out for Abba and our Contessa springs into action searching for an iPod, laptop -- anything to add a music to the party. Impromptu karaoke on one side of the table erupts while on the other memories are shared on an iPad. Traveling into each other’s lives through photos and stories, building deeper our emerging friendships.
This weekend has meant so much. A time to focus on the process, concentrated without the distraction of our regular work-a-day lives. What an indulgence it seems. But how do you grow as an artist or whatever your craft, if you can only practice an hour or two here and there? And, where else do you have the luxury of a valued critique, in a voice you trust. Our mentors were there for us, prepared and warmly human. Asking us the hard questions and appreciating the parts that speak authentically. All the while pushing and challenging us to make what we do better, thoughtfully with no desire to change our style or have us create a copycat version of what good food writing or photography is “supposed” to be. The perspective of an experienced, evaluative critical eye has been invaluable.
In thirty non-sleeping hours at Il Salicone kindred spirits open their hearts to new friendships and achieve incredible artistic growth they could experience nowhere else but at Plate to Page Tuscany.
“In Germany, we have a saying that life is the journey, not the destination,” Meeta says softly. We say that in America too.
To Ilva, Jeanne, Meeta, and Jamie,
|Photo by Judith Klinger|
To my fellows,
Lynn, Kate, Alexandra, Marta, Haley, Elizabeth, Judith, Valentina, Olivia, Denise, and Heidi.
|Photo by Jeanne Horak-Druiff's camera|
Marta | Kate | Valentina | Lynn | Alexandra | Elizabeth | Hayley | Olivia | Heidi | Denise | Judith
To the event sponsors,
What wonderful gifts that surely expand our culinary senses and experiences, thank you! My brain is already spinning with creative ideas for your products.
ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS | Sunchowder’s Emporia | Taste of Home | Gourmelli | Smaromi | Peppadew International | Bisol Prosecco | Riso Gallo | Nielsen-Massey |
TABASCO® | Matcha Factory
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|More than just props!|
|First Photo Exercise Corbezzola, Foraged Fruit|
|Eating and Drinking in Tuscany|