Well Im back in dreary England!
Italy was fantastic. The weather was good and all though it started a little rocky it turned out to be great!!
My adventure started by flying through Germany to and getting an email in the airport that said “Course has been cancelled” I was so upset I thought I am half way to Italy what am I going to do!!?!?!? I called Chief immediately and he told me that Chef Mike(the NAVY paid Chef) wasn’t coming from America however would I still come and hold a normal class. I agreed of course. To me this is more then just teaching a bunch of NAVY guys how to cook, its about seeing old friends and a beautiful country.
I arrived in Italy and Chief told me someone was picking me up, one of the CS’s(Culinary Specialist) from last class Kendall. I got to the airport and no sign of Kendall so I called one of the other guys who I have kept in contact with and he was ready to come pick me up when some guy over heard me and said “Where you going…” I told him where and he said “Im here to pick you up” Riiiiiggghhhtttt was my reply. I asked CS Meyers on the phone what I should do and he made me ask for name and rank. Once he got a good enough answer I was allowed in the car with this guy (later to be discovered he was in my class and his name was CS Vargas).
I was staying with one of the families I met last time as it’s a bit lonely on base since Mike wasn’t coming. The Hanford’s are amazing. He (Michael works for the Admiral) Tuty (his lovely wife from Venezuela) and their two children Nicky and Matt. I slept in their spare bedroom for most of my trip. The first night we went to the Commissary which is like “mini America” in Italy, its on base and has everything from a taco bell to a grocery store and all importantly DILL PICKLES.
I started the class Friday all though not everyone was there until Monday I did some shopping at the markets and helped with the service. It was great to see everyone. On the weekend I went out with CS Meyers and CS Almonzo, we went to a tattoo and piercing convention (more on that later!!) we also just hung out went out for a meal and had some of the other Navy guys over to watch movies it was a REALLY nice weekend.
Mondays class proved to be very testing. These CS’s have been not practicing what we had taught them last time. I kept them on track with my schedule however it was difficult as they had regular duties still to do. I met up with a lot of the officers I saw last time and they were VERY VERY VERY happy to see me. Mainly because the CS’s had been getting lazy and even though I was standing there they opened canned Tomato soup. I wasn’t impressed and I knew then I had my work cut out for me.
Without boring everyone the week proved to be very testing but we went through everything. By the end of the week I had them thinking outside the box and making their own breads. We did some thanksgiving baking and also went over what they needed to do for their ACF certification. I think personally out of the class of 12 CS’s I can see 5 get certified at the moment. Which is really good!!!
We made some mousse and pudding and I also taught them some hot food dishes. We concentrated on sandwiches as that’s what they serve for lunch. We did some stuffed sandwiches on home baked bread, Monte Cristos, vegetarian sandwiches etc. I showed them how to make soups that don’t take a lot of time but taste good. We went over how certain spices, herbs, and vegetables compliment and some don’t.
By the end of the VERY VERY VERY testing week I got together with the few of the guys and had a GREAT party we had "mexican night" made tortilla shells, rolled tacos, soft tacos, burritos, nachos, beans, rice it was amazing. Oh we also drank..........a lot ((more on THAT later too))
It was a very good week and Im very glad I went. I am looking forward to going to some other EURO galleys and looking forward to going back to the JFC command in Naples. I know that this entry wasnt full of food and wine that I experienced but to be honest that wasnt the imporant thing this week. I had good food, good wine, but more importantly I had good company.... Oh and a lot of interesting stories that cant really be written on a family site God Bless the Navy LOL