Crispo made tough choices to stay in U.S.

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008
Though he was born in Dutchess County, Phil Crispo spent much of his early life in Scotland. After traveling the world perfecting his culinary skills, in 2004 Crispo ended up at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park at a friend’s urging, while his wife, Lorraine, and daughters Amy-Beth and Alicia remained in Scotland.

Just a few days after rigorous two-day testing to be an instructor at the CIA, Crispo learned he passed the exam – and some difficult decisions had to be made. This was an amazing professional opportunity – and probably the worst time in his daughters’ lives (they were pre-teens at the time) to contemplate an international move. Plus, one-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter Bailey is part of the equation, too.

“We decided it was too disruptive to move now,” says Crispo. “So I do as much overtime as I can, not only to learn and hone new skills, but also to allow me to fly back and forth.”

And that’s the most difficult challenge. “I really enjoy living in Marlboro, especially in the summer and fall. I am surrounded by wonderful fruits, wine and some great folks. It still possesses its small-village feeling. I would love to be more active in the community here, but trying to find the time is so difficult.

“But, when I leave for work [at the CIA] in the early morning, the house is empty,” he says. “When I come home, the house is empty. … the other weekend, I was home alone and made sausages – for no one. They’re in the freezer.”

Yet professionally, he’s never been so fulfilled. “When I go to work, I’m in heaven. I never have Sunday-night blues,” he says. “Being in the classroom is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I wish I had taught 10 years ago. … I am also humbled to wear the same jacket of some of the most talented chefs and instructors in the industry.”

Categories: Profiles

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