Home Featured News The Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts’ annual sugar pull rescheduled for tonight

The Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts’ annual sugar pull rescheduled for tonight

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Chef Renusson and students watch a demonstration to make a sugar pull in fall of 2014. Photo by Jonathan D. Lopez

By Lydia Zilinsky – Collegiate Staff

After poor weather conditions for the past two weeks, much trial and error learning, and an adventurous test run, the sugar pull is officially scheduled for today. 2014.9.13 Sugar Pull Featured Image

GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts, led by Chef Giles Renusson, has been working vigorously to prepare for a banquet they are hosting for President Carter.  The behind the scenes preparation done for this event is incredible.  Even with constant work in preparation for this event, the students take time from perfecting their dishes for the sugar pull.  Chef Renusson believes it is important to have fun, but also to learn the science of how each item is made and how to constantly alter and perfect it.

It is the same with the sugar pull, as he explains “We teach the students to produce pastry, we want to teach them how the science of baking works, and if we can squeeze a little bit of fun in between, then everybody is happy.”

Last Friday, the Secchia students prepared the sugar for a practice run, mixing 2000 grams of sugar with less than 3 grams of acid.  The mixture is then heated to 115 degrees Celcius and kneaded in with colorful dye.  Because of rain Renusson made a quick call to security asking to use the hallway between Cook and Main.

Chef Gilles Renusson shows Alexis Rice how to mix coloring into the molten sugar. Photo by Jonathan D. Lopez
Chef Gilles Renusson shows Alexis Rice how to mix coloring into the molten sugar. Photo by Jonathan D. Lopez

“I think we can go from one end of the building to the other!” Renusson enthusiastically.

When the sugar was ready, the class ran down the road in the drizzling rain, chef uniforms and all, only to find the building shut down for the evening.  Thinking quickly, student Alexis Rice suggested moving to the parking garage, as Steve Peterson hustled to carry the sugar out of the rain before it cooled.

Once in the garage, the students tested the sugar and pulled the three batches they had carried over.

Each time the length increased, as Chef Renussson gave continuous instructions explaining how to lengthen the pull before the sugar hardened.

Walking back to the culinary department, the class enjoyed eating the remains of the candied sugar, excited to try and beat their record in the official pull.

Renusson says the pull will happen rain or shine on Friday and welcomes anyone to join.  Due to the increasing cold weather, students wanting to participate can meet inside Main and Cook hall, around 6 p.m.