Last Tuesday night, a neighbor I’ve known since he was small, Oliver Antunes, was bummed. A 2008 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Oliver left his job as poissonier at Wheatleigh, a posh Berkshire resort, and has been living with his mother, studying French, and catering private dinners, saving up to go live in Europe and pursue an apprenticeship with a top restaurant in Lyon. Through his Portuguese father, Oliver has a dual passport that allows him to live and work in the EU. He’d lined up his contacts and even an apartment in Lyon when, on Tuesday, a catering job that would’ve brought him close to his goal was cancelled at the last minute. Commiserating with her son, my friend Crane (a single mom who’s supported three children with her panoply of talents including cooking) asked how much more he needed. “$4,000” Oliver answered, before disappearing to the village market to buy a can of beer. The next morning Crane noticed that Oliver was up and out uncharacteristically early. It turns out that, along with his can of beer, Oliver bought a $1 lottery ticket, and not wanting to say anything until he had the check in hand, had gone off to the Lottery Commission in Springfield to redeem it. The amount? $4,000.
Bon voyage, Oliver!