JBF Alumni Dinner – Reconnecting with Florence

By Monica Hu and Daniel Yacoubian

The James Beard Foundation FUA-AUF Alumni Night, was a magical evening. Our guests, former Career and Study Abroad alums, checked in at 6pm and received Florence campus updates in the Alumni newsletter and table assignments divided according to Florentine squares. An Italian greeting, buonasera, and a glass of Solosole wine from Poggio Al Tesoro in Bolgheri, southwestern part of Tuscany, immediately brought former students back to their time spent in Florence. Alums reconnected with each other months and/or years after their FUA-AUF experience. 

When you are a part of the FUA-AUF alumni network, you become part of a worldwide family. A sense of community is definitely the term to describe the evening’s atmosphere. “Who didn’t cry when they left Florence?” asked by Alumni Coordinator Mattia Delle Piane in his opening speech (nobody raised their hands). 

The evening’s menu featured an arrabbiata-style octopus, a vegetarian “sugo finto” pasta, branzino en papillote, a Florentine deep fry, and a selection of desserts. Food was served family style, a format perfect for the sharing emotions and swapping stories with friends and family. Poggio al Tesoro wines accompanied the meal, and we were lucky to host Allegrini wine rep Robin Shay who shared an insider’s perspective of the winemaking process from the grapes to the bottle. It was inspiring to witness Robin’s passion for great Italian wines alongside the positive response of our guests.

The evening concluded with presentations of our BOH and FOH teams, and an invitation to all alums to join the January 2020 Alumni Week in Florence as well as upcoming NYC editions of the Alumni Reunion Dinner. 

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