Some might think that spending 7 nights at a luxury hotel would be really great. Those people would also be spending time outside of my windowless office at the said hotel. I didn't think it was possible but I may have actually been paler when I got home than when I left for Miami.
The one outdoor event that I allowed myself was the opportunity to take a cooking class with Chef Thomas Connell. I hate to say it but most hotel chefs that I've worked with are extremely arrogant. Chef Thomas Connell was the antithesis of that kind of chef - he was an inspirational and charismatic instructor [and patiently answered all of my dumb irrelevant questions, of which there are many]. Even better, I found out that he was from Los Angeles - East Los Angeles to be exact. He grew up always knowing that he was going to be a chef. [I couldn't relate. I grew up thinking I was going to be an accountant. I hated numbers, sucked at numbers so why I imagined that I'd be an accountant is still a mystery to me.]
Due to hotel liability issues I was told that the class would be a demo with a small amount of interaction. Little did I know that it was more than just a little interaction. Chef pulled people from the audience to help out, especially children when they were around - it was a true passion for him to instill the love of cooking in the youths.
The best dish of the day was the garlic shrimp. My colleague and I repeatedly went back for some more of this shrimp. It was so simple to make [literally, toast garlic in olive oil, throw in the shrimp, top with chili flakes and parsley after shrimp has cooked, careful not to overcook the shrimp] and yet so flavorful! My colleague warned me that he WOULD stab me with his fork if I ran off with the bowl so I decided to stay put. He was my on staff EMT, so I quickly realized that he wouldn't do anything to stop me from bleeding to death.
After one of the classes had ended, I had the chance to speak to some of the participants. I honestly can't remember a time when they were so inspired after an activity. One person shared with me that Chef's enthusiasm for cooking reminded them of why they were in their chosen profession - the love and passion of their job. It reminded me how fortunate that I have that passion for my job. Love what you do, if you don't have it, find it.