McGill enters Guinness Record Book… again

Posted on Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Members of Food and Dining Services top off the giant smoothie that eventually weighed in at a world-record 3,100 litres. / Photo: Owen Egan

Members of Food and Dining Services top off the giant smoothie that eventually weighed in at a world-record 3,100 litres. / Photo: Owen Egan

Breaks record for world’s largest smoothie with 3,100-litre giant

By Neale McDevitt

Coming into to yesterday’s attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest smoothie, McGill’s Executive Chef, Oliver de Volpi, had a plan.

From noon until about 4 p.m., a team of volunteers – including Principal Suzanne Fortier and Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) – would chop over 3,000 kilos of fresh fruit while another group of volunteers would purée the mountain of produce in some 20 blenders along with yogurt and juice.

Principal Suzanne Fortier and Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) help chop some of the 3,000 kilos of fresh fruit that went into the smoothie as Mathieu Laperle, Senior Director of Student Housing and Hospitality Services, looks on. / Photo: Owen Egan

Principal Suzanne Fortier and Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) do some chopping as Mathieu Laperle, Senior Director of SHHS, looks on. / Photo: Owen Egan

The final product would be poured into barrels that would be stored in a refrigerated truck until the big moment when the contents of all the barrels (totaling more than 3,000 litres), would be transferred into a massive, 12-foot-high holding tank via a special pump, thus breaking the record and etching McGill’s name into the Guinness book.

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and Executive Chefs sometimes go awry. “The pump didn’t work,” said de Volpi with a chuckle and a shake of his head. “Thanks goodness for Plan B.”

When technology failed, the day was saved with good, old-fashioned muscle power, as more volunteers rolled up their sleeves, lugged the heavy barrels up a short flight of stairs and poured them in the holding tank.

Guinness Word Record adjudicator Michael Empric (right), presents Mathieu Laperle with the official Guinness World Record certificate. / Photo: Owen Egan

Guinness Word Record adjudicator Michael Empric (right), presents Mathieu Laperle with the official Guinness World Record certificate. / Photo: Owen Egan

A little after 4 p.m., official Guinness Word Record adjudicator Michael Empric, who came in from New York to oversee the proceedings, announced that, in fact, McGill had successfully broken the existing smoothie record of 2,300 litres with a massive drink of 3,121.7 litres.

When Empric presented Mathieu Laperle, Senior Director of Student Housing and Hospitality Services with the official Guinness certificate, the crowd of several hundred students, staff and faculty that had gathered on Lower Campus, broke into rousing applause.

“It was a compete success,” said Laperle. “The weather was great, our volunteers and staff were amazing, we broke the record and – look around – all you see are smiling people having a good time.”

Combining the fruit with yogurt and juice before mixing it in the blender. / Photo: Owen Egan

Mixing the fruit in with the yogurt an juice before getting mixed in the blender. / Photo: Owen Egan

Laperle says the world records (world’s largest fruit salad in 2012, world record brownie last year is much more than getting an entry in Guinness. “We’re always looking for ways to bring the McGill community together that are fun, inclusive and make us proud to be a part of the University,” he said. “Plus, we always make sure that we give back to the community.”

Most of the record smoothie was consumed on the spot by the massive crowd – which included Engage McGill and Discover McGill participants who had converged on Lower Campus at about 4:30. Another 600 litres of smoothie –approximately 1,800 glassfuls – was donated to the Old Brewery Mission, a local organization that supports Montreal’s homeless people. “This is great for the people we work with,” said Jacques Cormier, an Old Brewery Mission employee who was on hand for the event. “Fresh fruit is a pretty rare commodity for them, so this will be greatly appreciated.”

The crowd awaits the official announcement that the world record has been broken. / Photo: Owen Egan

The crowd awaits the official announcement that the world record has been broken. / Photo: Owen Egan

Also appreciated, was the McGill à la carte food fair that was held in conjunction with the record smoothie attempt. More than 30 McGill suppliers squeezed into the tent where the chopping and blending was being done, handing out delicious samples of their fare. Hungry passersby were able to nosh on everything from sushi and mini burritos to ravioli and Vietnamese BBQ pork sandwiches. “Free food on Lower Campus. Now,” said one smiling student into his cell phone upon entering the tent, alerting his friends about the pay dirt he had just struck.

“Of course the smoothie is a big part of the day. It’s the show,” said de Volpi. “But we also wanted to use this as an opportunity to showcase our suppliers and the great food they serve on campus every day as well as the operations at Mac Farm.” Some 1,400 kilos of watermelon and cantaloupe used in the smoothie were grown on Mac Farms.

And if you are curious about what goes into a 3,100-litre smoothie, here is the list of ingredients (before peeling):

  • 600 kilos of strawberries (locally grown)
  • 100 kilos raspberries (locally grown)
  • 100 kilos blueberries (locally grown)
  • 400 kilos equitable bananas (Equifruit)
  • 900 kilos watermelon (Mac Farm)
  • 500 kilos cantaloupe (Mac Farm)
  • 600 kilos of juice (Minute Maid, campus supplier)
  • 400 kilos ice (Iceman)
  • 700 kilos yogurt (Danone, campus supplier)

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One Response to McGill enters Guinness Record Book… again

  1. Franco Nardi says:

    Congratulations to everyone involved. Bravo

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