When I began Mission Europe, I knew I would accomplish it. In all honesty, I will admit, I knew I would travel and see and learn… But the outcome was so much richer than I could have hoped for. It began with a search to find as many places in Europe to visit as possible, for as cheap as possible and where I could learn as much as possible. It took a few months to actually pin down the details and a few deep breaths to actually take the leap and buy the plane ticket that would set everything in motion and make everything feel real.
I experienced ups and downs throughout the planning process. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who wanted to sponsor me. I would like to take this opportunity to expresses my sincerest gratitude to the 10 sponsors that lent me so much more than financial support. I felt flattered, excited and more determined than ever to learn everything I could from my trip. It is an amazing feeling when people, even unexpected people, believe in you and support what you love. So sponsors, I want you all to know that thanks to your financial assistance I was able to attend 6 additional classes and do some self-guided culinary exploration.
Mission Europe was amazing, for lack of a better word. Saying that I enjoyed every second, is the understatement of the year. When I boarded my transatlantic flight from Atlanta to London, I was unprepared for the luxuries of a touch screen in the head rest, the extra cushy pillows and the free wine on the refreshment cart. I turned to my unsuspecting flight companion with my free mini wine bottle in hand and said with a HUGE grin, “I am drinking wine on a flight to London.” The young man smiled at me quizzically as I poured myself as glass of wine and sighed audibly. Good things were coming and I was ready.
Departing little lovely Costa Rica, I had no idea what lie in store for me in Europe. I could not have imagined the wonderful goodies I would taste, the incredible people I would meet or the gorgeous places I would photograph. I learned to prepare for transportation delays in London, adjust to no grocery shopping on Sundays in Vienna and shrug off ordering coffee at a bar in Turin. I became enamored with milky British teas, sensual Italian coffees and rich Viennese pastries. Mission Europe was the experience of a lifetime. The exposure, education, sensory overload and indulgence left me speechless.
I will be soon be hosting my sponsor dinner that will include a fantastic menu of many recipes, techniques and experiences from Mission Europe. So in summary: 21 culinary classes, 32 blog posts, 8 flights, 3862 photos (downsized from a much larger original quantity) and an endless supply of coffee, wine, cured meats as well as unfamiliar fruits and vegetables later… Mission Europe is complete.
Do not dismay my faithful readers, this poor traveling chef has many more ideas already in progress, so stay tuned, stay smiling and stay well fed! Until next time…Ta-ta! Auf Wiedersehn! Ci Vediamo!