Sweet Lessons at Sugar Glider Kitchen
Pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado opens her kitchen to the Upper Valley
Last night I spent a delicious (and kid-free, always a bonus) evening with pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado to celebrate the opening of her in-home baking school, Sugar Glider Kitchen. Take it from me, a woman who could've eaten her weight in chocolate eclairs; classes start this weekend, and you will want to be there.
Sugar Glider Kitchen is Gesine’s (pronounced Ge-SEE-nah) newest, but certainly not first, adventure in a lifelong passion for baking. She has authored five books on baking and has appeared on the Today Show, The Talk, and most recently Wendy Williams, among others. She also regularly teams up with Better Homes and Gardens on creative dessert features.
To sum up: if she hands you a pie and says “eat this,” you do what she says and you will not be sorry.
She previously ran a successful Montpelier pastry shop, but says the
business was “getting in the way of her relationship with butter and sugar," which I agree, is completely unacceptable. Above
all, Gesine loves to teach. She’s a regular guest chef instructor at King
Arthur Flour, and has taught at Southern Seasons and Stonewall Kitchen cooking
schools. Now, she’s opened what was once her commercial bakery and test kitchen to the public, right here in the Upper Valley.
Gesine's kitchen is a historic and beautifully renovated 18th-century carriage house tucked in a quiet section of Hartford. On the wall tile sits a logo of a sugar glider in flight designed by her husband, storyboard artist and Dartmouth grad Ray Prado. She and Ray headed east from a Hollywood life in film and television production more than ten years ago. Why the sugar glider? Because they love sweet things, and they are naturally suited to hold all the necessary baking tools at once:
Also: Gesine and Ray once discovered a rogue sugar glider flitting around inside their house. In my experience, this is a good sign; house guests from nature are the ultimate sign of affection from Vermont.
In that kitchen, amid a spread of fresh fruit pies, macarons with shattery-crisp meringue shells, sweet buttery palmiers - and did I mention the eclairs? - I met a wonderful group of students-turned-friends who have taken classes from Gesine for years and bonded over their shared love for learning and baking. They treat each other like family, and welcomed me as if I’d always been there.
That's the feeling that stuck with me, why I already want to go back, and what makes Sugar Glider Kitchen special. If you love to bake or want to learn, you’ll never be a stranger.
So bring your unabashed love for butter and sugar and click here to book a class. Pies and Eclairs
take place on February 25 and 26, followed by cakes, macarons, croissants, and much more. It'll be your new favorite place to bake.
Gesine Bullock-Prado (second from the right) doing what she loves most.
(Photos reprinted with permission from Sugar Glider Bakery.)