GRCC culinary students create holiday wonderland for DeVos Performance Hall

A Raider Buzz feature:

A semester-long project for some students in the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education will culminate in holiday magic for West Michigan.

The 14 students in the CA 265 Pastry Centerpieces and Wedding Cakes class are creating the Land of Sweets from the second act of "The Nutcracker Ballet," which will be on display through December at DeVos Performance Hall.

Led by professor Gilles Renusson, a certified master pastry chef and renowned sugar artist, students in the capstone course brainstormed ideas, designed the display and are now creating all the components -- ballerinas in stained-glass sugar, bells from blown sugar, musical motifs in royal icing and marzipan, and a 6-foot-tall croquembouche.

Soon, they will begin the painstaking process of transporting the delicate confectionary artwork to the DeVos Performance Hall's outer lobby.

“For the students, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to gain practical skills and really master them and also to have their work be seen and appreciated,” Renusson said. “And we get to work with our partners in the city and tell people about the programs we have and work we do at the college.”

The Land of Sweets will be unveiled on Dec. 5 for the opening of the Grand Rapids Symphony's Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops and will remain on view through the Grand Rapids Ballet's final performance of "The Nutcracker" on Dec. 22.

Passers-by will be able to see portions of the display through the hall's windows, but only those attending the performances will have the opportunity to see it up close from every angle.

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