Soigneur Diary: Amanda Shission

Soigneur Diary: Amanda Shission

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Entry 1: April 2, 2015

The 2015 season started off with a bang for me! Coming into the season knowing that I was once again the Soigneur for Colavita|Bianchi Women's Pro Cycling Team was exciting enough! Then to be unknowingly appointed as the new Team Chef, my dreams were coming true as fast as I could dream them. It was a new role that I was thrilled to embrace!

Cooking has always been an interest of mine. I remember my grandmother teaching me to boil water. At the age of 4 or 5, I was amazed by this process. Both my grandmothers and my mother were skilled craftswomen in the kitchen and I'm delighted to follow in their footsteps. I love to make everything from Homemade Marshmallows to Braised Rabbit. I am not afraid to try.....and fail at any recipe.

The process of truly grasping a concept, the process of learning, can be diagrammed in so many ways. 1) Watch it. 2) Perform it. and 3)Teach it, are three very general steps in a sometimes long and complicated process.

A few weeks ago, I was able to bring my educational process full circle. I was invited to teach two cooking classes for 6th graders at the Mile-Hi Middle School here in Prescott, AZ.

Gathering with the students and their teachers, we made Collard Green Wraps for our first lesson. Both students and some adults could not guess the name for this broad-leafed vegetable!  We stuffed our Collard wraps with hummus and plenty of other colorful spiralized vegetables! It almost brought tears to my eyes when some of the kids asked if they could prepare another wrap for themselves. They loved them!

For my second class, I chose the theme of "Eating Together." Sitting down and sharing a meal with family and friends is such a therapeutic time for me. I wanted to share this sentiment with the class. As the students gathered for our second class, I told them about the menu and gave them assigned jobs. We made a Gnocchi Skillet with plenty of fresh vegetables from our Farmers Market! We made a simple delicious dish that we all sat down and shared.

With the very generous support of Colavita, each kid was then given a gift bag filled with a variety of wonderful Colavita products. The items in the bag would help the students to re-create the meal we made in class. The students were encouraged to help prepare and share a dinner together with their families.

Many thanks to Colavita for not only being the longest standing sponsor of a Women's Professional cycling team, but also for supporting the culinary classes for these 5 unique students. Many thanks to Sam Turner, FoodCorps Service Member with the Prescott Farmers Market, and to Katie McDaniel, Health Educator with Yavapai County Community Health Services, for inviting me into their classroom. Thank you to the students of this class for allowing me to share my passion of healthy creative cooking.

I hope everyone has a fantastic 2015! I'll leave you with some lyrics from Whitney Houstons' 1985 Hit "The Greatest Love of All."  "I believe the children are our future.....TEACH them well and let them lead the way." Now, that that song is stuck in your head for the next 17 days......you're welcome.

Soigneur: What is that?

When I tell people what I do for a living, they often comment "That sounds like a dream job."  Well, I couldn't agree more!  Being a soigneur entails many job roles and I love to fulfill all of them.  Soigneur is a French word and it means 'one who cares for others' or 'one who provides assistance to a team.'

The most important part of my job is providing massage and bodywork for the team, although it takes up the least amount of my time. A soigneur's day can be filled with things like airport runs, grocery shopping, doing laundry, washing the team vehicles, preparing water bottles, prepping for the race, cooking and cleaning, organizing sponsor products and the list goes on and on.  It's a job that is filled with variety and that is the spice of life!

2015 is my second year working with the strong professional, female athletes on Colavita.  I look forward to the ups and downs that this year will bring.  It's a roller coaster ride of fun with these ladies and I'm excited to crush it this year!  It's gonna be good......really really good.