Tis the Season: Gingerbread

 Tuesday, December 11, 2012

All the cardboard templates
For the past few weeks, my sous chef Kristen and I have eaten, slept and breathed gingerbread. I had the big idea way back in the summer to do a gingerbread display for the restaurant, and as it got closer, my plans for it got bigger. When I told Kristen we would be replicating 9 casinos of the Atlantic City boardwalk, I think she wanted to hit me and/or quit.

Home Depot

A gingerbread house of any sort is a major undertaking. One consisting of 9 detailed houses is setting yourself up for an impossible mission. But my motto has always been "go big or go home," so that's what we did. Some time around Thanksgiving, I started by carefully measuring and cutting out cardboard templates to use to model and cut the actual gingerbread pieces. While I was doing that, Kristen was making 30 pounds of gingerbread that we'd all roll out (a major work out) and cut into the house pieces for later assembly.

Even with everything labeled carefully, we had 2 mystery pieces

Each piece was painstakingly iced after consulting many pictures of how each casino looked and even driving by some of them. I really need to tip my hat to Kristen; she is a phenomenally talented decorator, and a lot of the more intricate work was done by her. I was definitely the architect of this project and she was the artist.

Airbrushing Revel
Trump Plaza

Assembly turned out to be much easier than we were expecting. Because the templates had been carefully constructed, the pieces fit together almost perfectly. I had gone to Home Depot to have boards custom cut to fit on our display table so we could assemble the houses on the boards in the back and fit them onto the table in pieces. Finishing up all the small details seemed like it would never end, but sometime last night around midnight, we were ready to move the house to the front of the restaurant.

I'm pretty proud of the end result. I think our hard work definitely shows in it, and it feels good to finally be done with it (with some slight maintenance that will likely be required). If you're in the NJ area, stop by and check it out!


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