GBC kicks off the festive season with the annual gingerbread house competition and new mocktail contest 

The Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts kicked off the festive season with the annual gingerbread house competition and an all-new holiday mocktail contest. Both events provided impressive cash prizes thanks to the support of sponsors Dawn Foods and Russell Hendrix. 

Harry Potter-inspired creation

An edible abode inspired by the Harry Potter series won the top prize at GBC's 14th annual gingerbread house competition on November 21. 

Baking and Pastry Arts Management student Evan Lim created a gingerbread version of The Burrow, the creaky, cozy and crooked home of Hogwarts student Ron Weasley and his family. Lim admits he's not a Harry Potter fan but chose The Burrow because "it's quirky," and he liked the challenge of recreating the gravity-defying house. Working evenings and weekends, Lim spent a month putting The Burrow together. He created individual tiles, shingles, and tinted sugar windows, including one with Harry Potter's owl Hedwig perched on top. 

The 2022 gingerbread house competition theme was a building or home from a book or movie. Among the 30 impressive entrants, there were multiple creations inspired by Harry Potter, Pixar's Up, and Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away

"I didn't expect this," Lim said of his win. "There are really great houses this year. I'm glad I spent so many sleepless nights doing it." 

Lim lives about 30 minutes north of Toronto. He packed his house in a large box, and a friend drove it to the college. Thankfully, it arrived intact, but the potholes were nerve-wracking.  

"Finishing the house is one thing," he said. "Getting it here in one piece is another story."  

When Santa Snaps! 

Food and Beverage Management student Gabriella Margarita Artiles Sisk won first prize for her mocktail called When Santa Snaps. She used simple syrup, ginger cookies, cloves, espresso and white chocolate to create her take on a gingersnap latte.  

Sisk spent three weeks conceptualizing and testing to ensure she had a drink that tasted great and had a wow factor. The simple syrup combination sits on the bottom of the glass, and white chocolate domes resting on the rim melt when espresso is added.  

"I'm ecstatic. I'm surprised and very happy," Sisk said after winning first prize. "There are a lot of emotions." 

Student work evaluated by industry experts  

Industry experts evaluated students' work in both the gingerbread and mocktail competitions.  

Professor and Chef Sue Fleming has been organizing the gingerbread house competition since 2008. She said the competition benefits students in many ways, including giving them a chance to show their peers and industry professionals that they "burn to bake." 

"It allows students to push their skills, take a risk, and do something outside of the box," she said. "It also means they've got something on their CV that shows they're passionate about baking." 

Doris Miculan Bradley, a professor and program coordinator at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, said the mocktail event was a huge success.  

"Students initially must learn to do this in a classroom, and the ability to apply it in public is thrilling to see,” she said. “We will be doing this again." 

Industry judges 

Gingerbread house competition 

  • Dufflet Rosenberg, Dufflet Pastries, a judge of this competition since 2008 
  • Colleen Cross, Editor, Bakers Journal 
  • Rita De Montis, Senior National Lifestyle and Food Editor, Sun Media 
  • Vi Van Lam, Baking and Pastry Arts Chef Faculty, GBC 
  • Anthony Lo Sin, National Technical Sales Lead, Dawn Foods 
  • Dr. Eileen de Courcy, Vice-President, Academic, GBC 
  • Dr. Cory Ross, Provost, GBC 
  • Dr. Gervan Fearon, President, GBC 

Russell Hendrix mocktail competition 

Gingerbread house competition winners

1st prize ($2,000) - Evan Lim, The Burrow (pictured below) 

2nd prize ($1,000) - Cheung Ming Ngai, Hogwarts castle 

3rd prize ($500) - Chloe Nguyen, Queen of Hearts castle 

People's Choice (tickets to Chefs' House event) - Jennifer Alba, the house from Home Alone 

Harry Potter themed gingerbread house created by student Evan Lim, 2022

Mocktail competition winners

1st prize ($2,000) - Gabriella Margarita Artiles Sisk (pictured below)

2nd prize ($1,000) - Courtney Carrescia 

3rd prize ($500) - Ana Laura Santos Silva 

People's Choice (tickets to Chefs' House event) - Julia Barragán 

When Santa Snaps mocktail created by student

See all the winners on the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Instagram @gbcchca.

Winning mocktail recipes

1st place - When Santa Snaps

Gabrielle Margarita Artiles Sisk's take on a gingersnap latte.

Serve in a hurricane glass.


  • 1 oz gingersnap simple syrup
  • 1oz espresso
  • 1 half hollow white chocolate sphere
  • 8 oz 3.5% hot milk
  • 3 oz light whipped cream
  • 1 Santa gingerbread man

Equipment needed

  • Espresso machine
  • Milk steamer


  1. Pour Gingersnap simple syrup and espresso into a hurricane glass.
  2. Place half dome white chocolate sphere on top of the glass.
  3. Boil hot milk to 155-165 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Pour hot milk over white chocolate doom, allowing the white chocolate to melt into the latte.
  5. Stir the mocktail until the white chocolate dissolves.

Garnish with light whipped cream and a Santa gingerbread man.

Gingerbread simple syrup (makes 1 cup)


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 oz of shaved frozen ginger root
  • 1 oz zested orange peel
  • 7 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 oz whole cloves
  • ½ oz nutmeg

Equipment needed

  • Saucepan
  • Cheesecloth
  • Strainer


  1. In a saucepan, add sugar, orange zest and ginger root.
  2. Crush cinnamon sticks, and add to the pan with cloves and nutmeg.
  3. Add water and turn the heat on low.
  4. Slowly bring simple syrup to a boil until all ingredients blend together.
  5. Remove from heat, strain syrup with cheesecloth and sifter, and wait to cool down before use.

White chocolate half domes (makes 3)


  • 10 oz of white melting chocolate wafer
  • 6 cups of water
  • Sprinkles

Equipment needed

  • Pot
  • ½ sphere chocolate dome mold
  • Microwave-safe bowl


  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Place a microwave-safe glass bowl on top of a boiling pot.
  2. Put chocolate wafers in the bowl and allow to melt until liquid.
  3. With a baking brush, drop ½ oz worth of melted chocolate into half sphere chocolate mold.
  4. Decorate with sprinkles at the bottom and use your brush to get an even thin layer of chocolate to cover the whole dome.
  5. Allow to cool in the fridge overnight and remove from the mold.
2nd place - Gin & Tidings

Courtney Carrescia's original mocktail.

Serve in footed rocks or rocks glass. Serves 4.


  • 3 whole oranges
  • 1 bushel rosemary
  • 1 bottle of honey
  • 6 cans of tonic water
  • Woodchips (cherry)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 bottle Sobrii non-alcoholic gin or Tanqueray 0

Equipment needed

  • Smoker
  • Torch
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fine-mesh sieve 
  • Funnel
  • Decanter


  1. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook until reduced (2-4 mins)
  3. Add vanilla and set aside to cool.
  4. Strain into a bottle for use
  1. Torch orange slice dipped in cinnamon
  2. Smoke rosemary and gin until fragrant in a decanter.
  3. Add syrup, orange and rosemary to a shaker.
  4. Muddle, add ice and then shake to combine.
  5. Add smoked gin and stir.
  6. Strain into rocks glasses.
  7. Add ice and tonic to top off.
  8. Garnish with a charred orange and rosemary.
3rd place - The Drink That Stole Christmas

Ana Laura Santos Silva's original mocktail.

Serve in a 6oz martini glass.


  • 120ml of oat milk
  • 60ml of brewed coffee or 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 teaspoon of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 oz of mint simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 4oz of Ice

Mint simple syrup:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 bunch of mint


  • 20ml of chocolate syrup
  • 2 small candy canes
  • 1 marshmallow
  • 1 cranberry
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 cloves 

Equipment needed

  • Blender
  • 2 saucers
  • knife
  • chopping board
  • martini glass (6oz)
  • percolator or espresso machine
  • cocktail stick


  1. Play your favourite holiday tunes
  2. Get the ingredients and equipment out and wash your hands.
  3. Prepare the mint simple syrup
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and mint leaves. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Simmer for 1-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the syrup steep.
  5. Brew your coffee in a percolator or make the espresso shot
  6. In a blender, place the oat milk, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, brewed coffee, mint simple syrup and ice and blend until all is combined.
  7. Place one candy cane on the cutting board and cut it into small pieces with your knife. Place it in the first saucer.
  8. Place the chocolate syrup in the second saucer.
  9. Dip the rim of your martini glass into the chocolate syrup.
  10. Evenly dip the rim of your glass into the crushed candy cane saucer so that it sticks to the chocolate syrup.
  11. Next, let’s make your reindeer — grab a marshmallow for the head, a cranberry for the nose, rosemary sprigs for the antlers and cloves for the eyes and put it all together. The cloves and rosemary stick to the marshmallow by themselves. Use a cocktail pick to get the cranberry nose.
  12. Give your drink one last blend to ensure all is combined.
  13. Pour your delicious drink from the blender into the martini glass.
  14. To finish, garnish the glass with the reindeer and a candy cane.
  15. Enjoy and share with all those you love!

Watch as this drink steals all the attention during your holiday parties

People's choice - Mrs. Claus' Cranberry Kiss

 Julia Barragán's original mocktail.

Serve in a 6oz martini glass.


  • 4 fresh raspberries
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • ¼ oz orange blossom water
  • 2 oz cranberry nectar
  • Topped with club soda (approx. 2 oz)
  • Additional lemon juice for rimming
  • Sugar, for rimming
  • Ice, for shaking
  • Lemon slices for garnishing
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnishing


  1. Rim half of the glass with lemon juice and sugar, and put in the freezer to chill before serving.
  2. Mash together the raspberries, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add ice, orange blossom water and cranberry nectar, and mix.
  4. Serve the mixture in the chilled and rimmed glass, leaving room for the club soda.
  5. Top with club soda.
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist skewer and mint leaves