Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Places We Will Go

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. 
Thornton Wilder

Last Friday my husband and I went to lunch at Betony -- a James Beard nominee restaurant in New York City. Right there on West 57th, just down the street from Carnegie Hall and a couple blocks from Central Park. For a girl from southern Minnesota and a boy from Pontiac, Michigan, I'm not certain we ever envisioned such an opportunity. But one must do what one must do.

After being seated at an incredible table with views of the entire restaurant with its ornate brick walls and towering bar shelves, intricate ceiling and wooden staircases, we perused our menus with delight. Appetizer choices of Hen's Egg Tagliatelle and Ham Hock, Rocotta Gnudi, or Pig's Head Terrine with Salsa Verde. A main course of Roasted Beef Tenderloin with potatoes and baby leeks or Sauteed Skate Wing or Poached Lobster with asparagus and almond. Desserts of Dark Chocolate with Earl Grey ice cream and Olive Oil cream or Amaranth with maple and banana.

We enlisted the waiter's help for our menu choices and then ordered some wine. Sat there sipping and taking it all in.

Two runners appeared with a carrot buttermilk soup. Sweet and tangy. Delicious. With that settling on our palates, I saw a couple flashes of white approaching the table and looked up to see the Executive Chef - Bryce Shuman - setting an appetizer before me. And someone behind him setting another in front of my husband. I shook the chef's hand with delight, but excused myself to rise with tears in my eyes to embrace the young cook standing behind him - our son, Ian.

Ian had no idea his parents were in the house. He was more than a little rattled when Chef Bryce yelled at him to get upstairs to help deliver plates. He grabbed the dishes wondering why he was carrying and not the runners he passed en route.

Too much fun.

After a quick acknowledgment of their being in the middle of service, they returned to the kitchen. If that incredible moment and the food were not savory enough, more surprise arrived when the Chef returned after the meal to tell us our boy was doing well in his work. We thanked him for the opportunity he'd given Ian. Incredible parent moment.

Check out my entree.

We weren't in New York City strictly for the fabulous food. We were there, with all our kids and a couple of uncles, to celebrate Ian's graduation from the International Culinary Center, formerly the French Culinary Institute. Yes, the last of three kids to graduate and begin their very own lives. Off our payroll!

Ian technically finished his classes in January and began his job as line cook at Betony in February.  Graduation was held at Carnegie Hall now. All the classes from the past year including culinary, pastry and sommelier participated and Bobby Flay gave the keynote speech.

Ian took a selfie from the stage.

And we took a few photos.

Pomp and Circumstance

Two of Ian's favorite chef instructors
Chef Jeff

Chef Henri

Proud Family

Mom and Dad

Earlier in this post I mentioned that girl from southern Minnesota and a boy from Pontiac. I can't speak for the boy, but I recall that little girl dreaming of boundless adventure. That an entire world existed beyond the boundaries of Mower County. That someday I wanted to see it, taste it, experience it, even though I wasn't certain how to make that happen. Or certain I had the guts.

A gratitude-filled ride it has been. Grateful that I found a partner that was eager to explore and supply most of the guts. That we were blessed with the opportunity to have these kids of ours and create a home base.  That they, each and every one of them, have taken us on adventures and road trips and exposed us to things beyond whatever I imagined way back when.

Ian's turn this round. We are most proud of you. Be Good. Do Well. Come home once in a while.

Let the ride continue.


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