The Grove Park Innsider

GINGERBREAD!!! by Deborah

We announced our judges today for the 19th annual National Gingerbread House Competition™ at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa and we couldn’t be giddier! 🙂

Our judges combine years of experience in baking and the sugar arts with some fresh, new faces from the media. Our core group of judges is our “Legacy” judges, who return to the competition every year. Here are the 2011 Legacy judges for The National Gingerbread House Competition:

Gerry Hempel-Davis (Richmond,Va.): A judge at every National Gingerbread House Competition since its inception, Ms. Davis is the author of four books and 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.

Nicholas Lodge (Norcross,Ga.): Chef Lodge is recognized worldwide as a top instructor in the sugar craft arts and the author of numerous books.  In 2010, Lodge was named one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs,” as well as one of the “Top Ten Cake Artists” inAmerica, by Dessert Professional Magazine.  He is the owner of the International School of Sugar and Confectionary Arts inAtlanta,Georgia.

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. fromNew York University’sInstitute of Fine Arts.

 Colette Peters (New York,N.Y.): Ms. Peters 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.  Seaman teaches in The French Pastry School’s L’Art du Gateau—The Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program and also guides the “International Pastry Tour” throughout France.

Steven Stellingwerf (Sioux Falls,S.D.): Mr. Stellingwerf has been involved with the sugar arts for more than 30 years. He travels throughout theU.S. and internationally teaching cake decorating, candy and gingerbread classes and is the author of “The Gingerbread Book.”

 Denny Trantham (Canton, N.C): Denny Trantham is the Executive Chef for The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. He attended Johnson andWalesUniversity where he earned his Associate Degree in Applied Science of Culinary Arts and was awarded the Cordon Bleu award.

Each year, we invite a very select group of judges who work in various forms of media to join us for The National Gingerbread House Competition. This year we are proud to include the following media judges:

Mike Bettes (Atlanta,GA.):  Mike Bettes is the co-host of The Weather Channel’s “Your Weather Today” on weekday mornings from 7 to 10 a.m. and the host of the popular Weather Channel franchise “The Great Tornado Hunt.”

 Heather Childers (New York,NY): Heather currently works as a National News Anchor and Correspondent for the Fox News Channel based inNew York. Heather can be seen anchoringAmerica’s News Headquarters Weekends with Gregg Jarrett from 4 to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

 Rachel Hardage (Birmingham,AL):  Rachel Hardage is the Executive Editor of Southern Living magazine. A Tennessee native, she started her magazine career at Glamour inNew York City, where she covered news, fashion, relationships, and entertainment. After more than a decade in Manhattan, she now lives in Birmingham and is enjoying her return to sweet tea, warmer weather, and college football.

 Leah McGrath (Asheville,NC): Leah McGrath is the corporate dietician for Ingles Supermarkets. Leah writes regularly for several WNC magazines, is a weekly guest on WLOS-TV and WMYA-TV in Asheville where she presents recipe and nutrition information segments, and is a local radio talk show host.

 Deborah Holt Noel (RaleighNC): Deborah Holt enjoys the dual role of producer and reporter for several UNC-TV local productions. She is the host of a weekly travel program, profiling North Carolina’s unique offerings for lodging, dining, recreation, and leisure.


Getting Ready For Gingerbread by Deborah

The 18th annual National Gingerbread House Competition™ is almost upon us, and while the beautiful houses that are entered won’t go on display to the public until November 17, our staff has been working for months to get ready for this prestigious competition. Back in the spring, our marketing department started contacting national media outlets about news coverage for The National Gingerbread House Competition. The popular holiday contest has been featured in several national publications including Southern Living and America’s Greatest Chefs. Now that we have your attention – it’s time to get gingy!

Our pastry chefs have been busy trying out new gingerbread cookie cutters, trying to find just the perfect size for the Gingerbread Cookie Workshops that are new for this year’s competition. Our Special Events team is busy logging in information on the contestants who are coming from all over the country. Our Rooms and Food and Beverage divisions have been busy getting ready to host our judges and contestants, and preparing menus for our incredible holiday buffets and other events. Gingerbread has even taken over in our retail division, as our shelves are stocked with any and everything gingerbread.

Next week, our floral team will start decorating the resort for the holidays. The staff at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa makes sure everything is festive and cheerful by the day of The National Gingerbread House Competition. Our floral team will put up and decorate dozens of trees, including several huge 18 to 20 footers in places like the Great Hall. We are also tuning up for our annual Staff Holiday Chorus, where each weekday employees from all areas of the resort gather for 30 minutes to sing Christmas Carols for our guests. Gingerbread is a magical time of year at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. And it’s almost here.  🙂