National Gingerbread Competition

Hi there!  Do you remember when you were a kid how you got to make those adorable gingerbread houses for your family and friends?  Those houses were decorated with the cutest, most innovative assortment of candies and cookies that you could find.  I have actually made a lot of gingerbread houses for clients and friends and I don’t think I will ever look at a piece of candy or cookie or cereal the same way without thinking….. “how will that look as a roof or window on my gingerbread house?”

Well, I want to tell you about the National Gingerbread Competition that was held on Monday, November 18.  You may already know about this terrific event, but in case you don’t, it takes place every year at this beautiful resort, The Omni Grove Park Inn, which is nestled in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  This will be their 27th year of hosting this event. 


The main lobby of the hotel features a towering Christmas Tree and a seasonal “Gingerbread House Café”.  The café is made of real gingerbread and real “sugar” decorations with cotton candy billowing out of the chimney. Each season the inn staff serve hundreds of gallons of hot chocolate as well as thousands of freshly baked gingerbread cookies to the guest visiting and staying at the inn. 

Competitors travel from across the United States to compete in this prestigious event.  Entries were dropped off over the weekend and the official judging began at 8:00 AM Monday, November 18 and lasted almost up to time to begin the awards ceremony.


The head of all the judges for the event was our very own, Chef Nicholas.  Chef often refers to this event as the “Gingerbread version of the Olympics!”  There were almost 200 entries in this year’s competition which meant the judges had a very busy day looking at each entry!!  The competition was fierce, and the entries were amazing.  


The judging criteria was based on five different areas, including; Overall appearance, Originality and creativity, Level of difficulty, Precision of work and Consistency of theme.  Some entries took the sugar artist as much as 300 to 400 man hours. 

The Grand prize winner of the event was Gail Oliver of Johnson City, Tennessee.  Gail received over $5,000 in cash and gifts as well as a Kitchen Aid Mixer.  She also received a free class with Chef Nicholas at his classroom in Atlanta, Georgia.


Here are some other photos from the event.


If you are in the area, stop by The Omni Grove Park Inn.  The winning creations will be on display from November 20 through January 4, 2020.  Can’t make it to Asheville?  Here is a wonderful video of the whole event.  Photography and video editing by Scott Ewing!  Just click on this link.  Gingerbread Competition 2019

Stay Sweet and Keep Learning!







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