The Dispatch

Gingerbread houses galore

GINGERWOOD%3A+Seniors+Sofia+Garza+and+Kieran+Barrington+work+on+a+Hollywood+themed+house.+They+are+creating+celebrities+such+as+Katy+Perry.+%22The+best+part+about+it+is+seeing+my+vision+come+to+life%2C%22+Garza+said.
GINGERWOOD: Seniors Sofia Garza and Kieran Barrington work on a Hollywood themed house. They are creating celebrities such as Katy Perry.

GINGERWOOD: Seniors Sofia Garza and Kieran Barrington work on a Hollywood themed house. They are creating celebrities such as Katy Perry. "The best part about it is seeing my vision come to life," Garza said.

Photo by: Cara Andres

Photo by: Cara Andres

GINGERWOOD: Seniors Sofia Garza and Kieran Barrington work on a Hollywood themed house. They are creating celebrities such as Katy Perry. "The best part about it is seeing my vision come to life," Garza said.

Cara Andres, Photo Essay Editor

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Four mastermind groups per block team up to create extraordinary gingerbread houses filled with icing, chocolate, marshmallows, licorice, and so much more. This marks the 18th year that chef Richard Winemiller has done this holiday project with his culinary arts students.

“It is an excellent way for my students to learn some decorating skills along with helping them learn and use their organization, time management and teamwork abilities,” Winemiller said. “It also allows them to express their creative side and do some real-world problem solving.”

Each group gets one week to plan their project, which consists of creating a cardboard replica of their idea, coming up with a decorative plan, and creating a shopping list. They then get one week to put their ideas into life.

“I try to stay about one day ahead of the students so they can watch my process and learn from it,” Winemiller said. “I also provide advice.”

Each group comes up with a distinct theme for their gingerbread house. The ingredients that they use are all provided by the culinary program.

“My groups theme is Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory because we really liked the idea for the boat to be gingerbread and a large chocolate river,” junior Julia Comer said. “We’re using candy dots, dots, and green licorice string.”

The groups utilize all sorts of sweets, such as pez, starbursts, Swedish fish, and even different kinds of cereal to provide unique textures and details. However, to make the houses stick together, each group uses Royal Icing.

“The #1 rule is everything in the project (except the baseboard) must be edible,” Winemiller said.

In the end, the finished pieces are displayed at a staff luncheon that the culinary team caters during the first week of December. Then, the pieces are auctioned off.

“We will display the houses in the library the following week where they will be for sale by silent auction,” Winemiller said.

So far, a few groups have faced some challenges on their projects, due to time constraints and lack of communication. Despite all of that, they have been optimistic about their projects and the collaboration skills they will gain from it.

“The biggest challenge is being able to do everything you have planned for each day within the time limits,” senior Seyi Odufuye said. “However, I think the best part is probably at the end, when we get to see all of our ideas, planning and hard work come together.”

Since the groups have just two weeks to get their masterpieces finished, they benefit greatly from working in groups.

“Doing this alone would be impossible,” junior Jack Ingram said. “Being a part of a team really helps everything get done well and on time for the most part.”

Ultimately, Winemiller plans to continue on with his tradition for many years more.

“It is great training for the students in working together in a true collaboration, trains their time management and organizing skills and it gives our customers a lot of pleasure when they see the finished projects,” Winemiller said.

Cara Andres
BAKING IT OUT OF THE BALLPARK: Chef Richard Winemiller starts to create his own baseball stadium out of the gingerbread. He is always one day ahead of his students so that they can learn from his process. “Just like real construction, the order you do things is really important,” Winemiller said.

Cara Andres
A CHRISTMAS HOUSE: Juniors Asia Vo and Grace Henderson work together on putting the icing on their gingerbread. Their groups theme is a Christmas Carol. “We chose this theme because it gives off that classic Christmas vibe in a friendly way,” Vo said. “We stumbled upon our theme when were looking at traditional gingerbread houses.”

Austyn Keelty
PRECISION AND PERFECTION: Senior Martin Cervantes uses a sharp tool to make the floor of his gingerbread house look precise. “The Night of the Living Gingerbread” is the theme for his group. “We were inspired by an ad of a gingerbread running away from a scone,” Cervantes said.

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Gingerbread houses galore