On November 7, 2014 Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (EASTERN) Culinary Arts students received a sugar work demonstration from Bob Gallant, substitute Culinary Arts instructor at EASTERN, and a retired pastry chef specializing in sugar work. Sugar work is the term used when a pastry chef creates sugar ribbons and molds.
Already a pastry chef for many years, Gallant was interested in learning more about sugar work. Fortunately, Gallant had a friend who was able to teach him basic sugar work design techniques. Wanting to explore this element of pastry design further, he continued his education at the Ewald Notter School of Sugar and Chocolate Design in Orlando, Florida. Two years ago, Gallant won first place at the International Hotel Motel Restaurant Show for Sugar Design Work at the Javits Center in New York. His award winning theme was “under the sea.”
Gallant taught the students the process of sugar work, and even had a few student volunteers assist. In his demonstration he used 1,500 grams of sugar and 150 grams of water. Gallant uses silicone molds since they do not stick – nor do they require cooking spray. Since EASTERN will be hosting a Joint Operating Committee dinner next week, he chose to create some designs that can be utilized for the event. He strongly recommended supervision by an experienced pastry chef should any of the students try sugar work techniques since it includes dealing with very hot sugar and very specific equipment.
“Sugar work can be a lot of fun,” said Gallant. “It can also be very frustrating when things don’t always work the way you want them to. It takes a lot of determination and practice. Everything you bake must have a garnish that compliments. Sugar designs are a fun and artistic garnish.”
EASTERN’s Culinary Arts program enables students to acquire a variety of skills including soup and sauce preparation, preparation of meat, fish and poultry entrees, baking, kitchen sanitation, purchasing and inventory controls.