BY CHRIS OKORIE, IN NYC: A week ago from today I boarded flight 210 at Louis Armstrong International Airport arriving at JFK International airport in New York and starting the most exciting chapter in my life. All the while prior to actually being in New York I was constantly being asked the same question from friends, family, and co-workers, and it was “so Christopher, has it sunk in yet”??? My response to this question almost never changed always my cool laid-back one lining response of “nope” and sometimes I’ll give them the occasional “naaaaaaaaah”.
So after surviving the first week of New York, I will once again respond to the question that everyone wants to know, “Has it sunk in yet” at the end of my blog. New York in comparison to New Orleans is basically another world. There are skyscrapers on every block, food stands on every corner, and a Starbucks & Duane Reade, in every neighborhood. Times Square is vibrant and lively, Chinatown is cheap and delicious, and Calvin Virgil dragged me to a 24 hour Apple store on fifth avenue, in which I immediately asked myself why do anyone need a 24 hour Apple store? I’ll also like to take this time to debunk the myth of the “Rude New Yorker”. I’ve gotten lost almost every single day in need of directions and had no problems getting them from anyone.
Although New York is an awesome city, I’ve been away from my family for a period of one week and are already missing them. Thankfully everyone that is apart of the Chefs Move scholarship have already made me feel apart of their own family. Whether its Emery inviting Calvin and me to go eat bagels, or Jessica making us a home cooked meal, I feel blessed to be in an amazing position surrounded by extraordinary people.
The more I write this blog the more surreal this is all becoming to me. I started my cooking career at Cafe Reconcile which is a restaurant aimed at helping young people like myself get off the street and find jobs in the restaurant or hotel industry. After graduating I worked at Cafe Adelaide in the Loews hotel for 2 ½ years starting out as a food runner and finally getting my shot in the kitchen a year later. I feel forever indebted to David Emond of Cafe Reconcile who recommended me for the Chefs Move Scholarship in January of this year which I ultimately won.
I pray and thank God everyday of my life, and also my mother who is looking down on me who are all helping me achieve this small ounce of success at a young age. I cannot thank everyone involved in the Chefs Move organization enough: Chef Besh, Jessica, Emery, Lauren, and the entire crew I love y’all so much and thanks for everything.
And finally to answer the question that everyone wants to know “Christopher has it sunk in yet”???
My response has finally changed, “Yes it has, and I’m loving every bit of it.”