Chef School student Lexi Orbanski’s painstaking effort to create an edible Dr. Seuss-inspired abode earned her first place and a cool $1,000 in George Brown College’s 2019 gingerbread house competition.
“I grew up with my mom reading Dr. Seuss books to me,” Orbanski, a second-year student in the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program, said. “I took some inspiration from The Lorax movie and then inspiration from the retro book drawings.”
She had stiff competition with more than 20 other entrants in the event on November 22 at the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, including a Harry Potter-themed castle, gingerbread replicas of the Pantheon and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and Rapunzel’s tower. The theme was Your Favourite House in Film or Literature.
Chef Sue Fleming, who teaches in the baking and pastry arts programs, runs the competition. Three judges pick the winner as well as second and third-place finishers, who win $750 and $500, respectively. Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries, Naomi Szeben, Editor of Bakers Journal, and Justin Deyell of publishing company Wiley were the 2019 judges.
“The students and their gingerbread houses are being judged on things like structural integrity, how neat their work is, skills that they’ve displayed and how original their creation is,” Fleming said. “Everything has to be edible.”
Visitors also cast their ballots for the People’s Choice Award. The winner in that category wins a selection of baking tools and cookbooks.
See the full list of winners below.
The baking and decorating are obviously a big part of the competition, but Fleming said the most stressful part is transporting the gingerbread house to the college. This competition is something students do on their own time and in their own kitchens.
Orbanski agreed about the transport stress. She brought her gingerbread house to the college from her residence room. The chimney snapped off in the Uber on the way over. She baked in one of the communal kitchens at The George.
2019 George Brown College Gingerbread House Competition winners
- Lexi Orbanski
- Salwat Rana and Jiyun Kim, they created an Aladdin-inspired house
- Boram Song, who created a house inspired by the Korean film The Face Reader
People’s Choice, Simran Randhawa, who recreated a Disney castle