Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Announces Judging Panel for 17th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition

Ten elite judges have been selected to preside over the 17th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition taking place at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in scenic Asheville, N.C. on Nov. 16th.

“The National Gingerbread House Competition at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa has gained a large following since it was launched in 1993. It’s a true holiday tradition and we are thrilled to have a great panel of judges for this year’s event,” said Ronald E. Morin, Executive Director of Operations at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.

Judging this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition will be:

Gerry Hempel Davis (Richmond, Va.): A judge at every National Gingerbread House Competition since its inception, Ms. Davis is the author of four books including her latest, “100,000 Miles: A Driving Diva’s Guide,” which chronicles her favorite resorts, spas, parks, diners, shops and roadside attractions. She was a lifestyle contributor for several years on NBC’s Today Show and part of the production team at CBS for the Ed Sullivan Show.

Helen Dujardin (Charleston, S.C.): A French expatriate, Ms. Dujardin became the executive pastry chef at a restaurant soon after arriving in the U.S. Years later she found her calling working as a food stylist and food photographer for several publications such as Garden & Gun and Charleston Magazine. Her work has also appeared in a variety of publications, including Dessert Professional Magazine and The Times online as well as in her popular blog, “Tartelette.”

Tim Haas (Hickory, N.C.): Mr. Haas is a self-made gourmet chef and his expertise in gardening and herbs has landed him numerous appearances on television and radio shows, as well as hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. He is a co-host on the new RFD-TV network show “Southern Fresh with Tim and Jan” and co-author of the new book, “The Herb Garden Gourmet.”

Jan Kirby (Blowing Rock, N.C.): Ms. Kirby is a master gardener and has combined with Tim Haas to write three cookbooks. She is a co-host on the new RFD-TV network show “Southern Fresh with Tim and Jan” and co-author of the new book, “The Herb Garden Gourmet.”

Nicholas Lodge (Norcross, Ga.): Chef Lodge is recognized worldwide as a top instructor in the sugar craft arts and the author of numerous books. He has taught sugar craft artists in 26 countries, including China, India and Fiji and he has judged numerous competitions around the globe. He has been a judge of the National Gingerbread House Competition since 2004.

Nadine Orenstein (New York, N.Y.): Curator of the Department of Drawings and Prints of The Metropolitan Museum of Art specializing in Dutch, Flemish and German art, Ms. Orenstein earned her Ph.D. from New York University’s Institute of Fines Arts. She picked up an appreciation for excellent food during childhood from time spent in France. She brings her artistic eye and historical knowledge to the appreciation of gingerbread houses.

Colette Peters (New York, N.Y.): The owner of Colette’s Cakes, a specialty cake company in New York City, she has designed celebrity cakes from Whoopi Goldberg, Al Pacino, Sting, Bette Midler, Hilary Clinton, the Rolling Stones and Yoko Ono for her 75th birthday. She has written five best selling books on cake decorating and teaches the art worldwide. Modern Bride magazine named Ms. Peters as “Trend Setter of the Year,” while Pastry Art & Design magazine named her to its “Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America.”

Mark Seaman (Chicago, Ill.): Founder of Marked for Dessert, a boutique cake shop in Chicago, Mr. Seaman is recognized for his special occasion and wedding cake design. He received his professional training at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating, the International Sugar Art Collection School of Confectionary Art and the French Pastry School. He now teaches the art of gum paste flowers at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and the French Pastry School’s L’Art du Gateau Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program.

Lisa Hood Skinner (Knoxville, Tenn.): During her 29-year career, Ms. Skinner has handled public relations and marketing for food product brands in multiple countries and cultures. She is currently a senior vice president at Ackermann PR and coordinates branding and image campaigns for hospitality, healthcare, engineering/environmental and legal clients.

Steven Stellingwerf (Sioux Falls, S.D.): Mr. Stellingwerf has been involved with the sugar arts for more than 30 years. He travels throughout the U.S. and internationally teaching cake decorating, candy and gingerbread classes. In addition to judging competitions and conducting demonstrations, he has authored baking and sugar craft books, including “The Gingerbread Book.”

Contestants may deliver their gingerbread houses to The Grove Park Inn Grand Ballroom starting on Sunday, Nov. 15th, from 2 -8 p.m. and again on Monday, Nov. 16th, from 7-8:30 a.m. The judging begins on Nov. 16th, with the awards presented that day at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“The judges will have their work cut out for them in selecting a winner in each category. The contestants bring a high level of creativity to this event and each year we have guests book time at Grove Park Inn so they can view the gingerbread houses during the holidays,” said Heather Brannan, Special Events Manager at The Grove Park Inn. “It’s a very special time of the year at the Grove Park Inn.”

Hundreds of entries are expected across four categories: Adult (18 years and older), Teen (13-17 years old), Youth (9-12 years old) and Child (5-8 years old). Entries are judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. Except for the base, the entries must be constructed entirely of edible materials. The maximum size of gingerbread houses in the competition cannot exceed two feet wide, two feet long and two feet high. The National Gingerbread House Competition awards more than $12,000 in cash and prizes. The grand prize winner receives a $3,000 cash prize, plus a two night Club Floor stay at The Grove Park Inn & Spa Resort, complete with dinner for two and breakfast daily at the historic hotel. All contestants will receive a personalized certificate.

All of the entries in the National Gingerbread House Competition will be on display at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa from Nov. 18th to Jan. 3rd. The public is invited to view the displays any Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Groups and bus charters are asked to call ahead for reservations. Guests at the resort and those dining at one of the award winning restaurants on the property may view the displays at any time. Additionally, a group of entries will be placed on display at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville.

For more information about The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, please visit www.groveparkinn.com.

About The Grove Park Inn & Spa

The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa is one of the South's most venerable and famous grand resorts. Built in 1913 from granite stones mined from Sunset Mountain, the resort overlooks the Asheville skyline and provides guests with majestic views of the legendary Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a monument of comfort and relaxation, offering 512 guest rooms and suites, a four-diamond restaurant and other fine dining establishments; a Donald Ross designed golf-course; a retail village comprised of four specialized boutiques; fitness facilities; and a spectacular, award-winning spa. The Grove Park Inn’s staff prides itself on true “Southern Hospitality” while enhancing the overall guest experience with numerous options to participate in themed activities and special events held throughout the year. The Grove Park Inn has received several honors, including Southern Living Magazine’s 2007 Readers Choice Award for Best Resort/Hotel and the “World’s Best Awards” poll taken by Travel + Leisure magazine ranked the Resort as one of the Top thirteen Spa Resorts in the world.

No comments: