I think I won the externship lottery!

I’ve been sitting on some exciting news for weeks, trying to come up with an eloquent way to ease into what I’m about to say, but really, I’m so excited that creative words escape me.

Pardon my blurt, but I WILL BE SPENDING THREE MONTHS IN BOSTON WORKING WITH AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN THIS SUMMER FOR MY EXTERNSHIP!

This chance of a lifetime encompasses every single aspect of food that excites me — food writing, recipe testing and development, film and television, teaching, and print/web design. I can hardly wait to work with their team of chefs and be in that environment, even if just for a short time.

I’m also overwhelmed — not by the job or expectations, but by the food. I’m the first to admit, I complain a lot about the lack of locally-grown, organic food available in the Orlando area. Our farmer’s markets are so pathetically stocked that I’ve stopped going, and I can’t always drive one or two hours to the remote farms to pick up eggs or grass fed beef. I often wish that I had the kind of markets in Orlando that were available in Rhode Island, where I grew up.

Since I’ve been gone, the local food movement in Rhode Island has happily outgrown my memories, with a long list of markets and farms I can’t wait to visit. And that’s just Rhode Island – I can’t even get my mind around the possibilities in Massachusetts. Day trips to New Hampshire, Maine and Nantucket have my head reeling from the weekend to-do list I’ve mentally created, and the food blog posts I’m already inspired to write.

It makes me wonder how a foodie like myself has survived in this chain-restaurant town for so long.

So my summer, it seems, will be a food paradise, but not without sacrifice. I will be apart from my husband and daughter for more weeks than I care to mention. We’ll communicate every day through video chat and emails, telephone and care packages. But it’s not the same as being able to hug my little one and tuck her in bed each night. It’s heartbreaking, and I’m weepy even just thinking about it now. But we all agreed, after much debate, this opportunity may never come again. The work will come with ease and excitement, but I fear the evenings will be quite lonely.

In spite of the short-term emotional hardship, I’m hopeful I’ve taught my daughter an important life lesson in following her dreams. And that is simply: go for it, always.

Do you have any local food related, must-see recommendations while I’m in New England? Post a reply below and tell me more.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
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            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
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            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

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            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
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            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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