Bakers Journal

Gingerbread House fever

February 18, 2009
By Brian Hartz

Baking and pastry arts students across Canada were inspired by the
holiday season to tackle the time-honoured tradition of constructing
gingerbread houses.

Holiday season inspires outbursts of tasty creativity across Canada

 The finished giant gingerbread house.


Baking and pastry arts students across Canada were inspired by the holiday season to tackle the time-honoured tradition of constructing gingerbread houses.


On Dec. 2 in Toronto, George Brown College Chef School’s Baking and Pastry Arts Program held its Gingerbread House Competition. First-year baking and pastry arts students were encouraged to create an edible showpiece for the event. Later in the month in Calgary, the 44 first-year students in the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Polytechnic Baking and Pastry Arts program created a giant gingerbread house that required 560 eggs and more than 130,000 grams of flour, and was taller than an average person.

George Brown College Gingerbread House Competition
Entrants had two weeks to build their gingerbread houses, which were
limited in size to a one-foot by two-foot base, but with no height
The biggest challenge for the eager participants turned out to be
transporting their creations from home to school in one piece, with all
but one arriving safely.

The students’ gingerbread creations included everything from
classically styled log cabins, churches and castles to more modern
pieces, such as an apartment building. Some went with motifs inspired
by pop culture, such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Grinch Who Stole
Christmas” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Susan Flores’
gingerbread tiki hut with a sunbathing Santa Claus drew many a chuckle
from observers who stopped to check out the display in the lobby of the
chef school on Adelaide Street East in downtown Toronto.

Judges were Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries, Scott Vivan of Jamie
Kennedy’s Kitchen and Peter Jacobs of Lesaffre Yeast Corporation. Their
comments included high praise for the entrants’ originality, ability to
think outside the box, clean and simple design, and overall creativity.


First place – and the grand prize of a free dinner at the college’s Chef’s House restaurant – went to Emily Rigo. Jessica Costley and Michelle Usprech tied for second; Flores took third. For their efforts, the second- and third-place winners were awarded books on gourmet chocolate and pastry making.

The other participants were Ailish Roe, Jen Frank, Melissa Davis, Jennifer Elliott, Kara Lackie, Emily Weindorfer, Rachael Kaye, Marie Isabelle Pernal, Pei Ling He, Laura Mootoo, Celeste Crevier, Porche Hughes, Sarah Stratford, Caroline Murakami, Kadie Leigh MacDougal and Craig Schoeman.

SAIT Polytechnic giant gingerbread house
The 44 first-year students in SAIT Polytechnic’s Baking and Pastry Arts
program created the imaginative and eye-catching structure as a fun way
to wrap up their semester.

“The idea was to put into practice all the components the students have
studied so far in the program, from yeast to sugar work,” said
chef-instructor Teddi Smith.

The wooden framework for the house, built by SAIT’s School of Construction,
was covered with eight-by-four-inch gingerbread bricks. The roof was
shingled with chocolate and the chimney stonework fashioned from sugar.
Baguettes formed the front porch railings while buns created a
cobblestone path.

Industry sponsors BakeMark, Burnbrae Farms, Qzina, Rogers Foods Ltd.
and Sysco donated materials to the project. The house was on display
during SAIT’s Open House on Feb. 6-7.  / BJ

 Emily Rigo and her winning gingerbread house.


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