ASHEVILLE, NC – Twelve elite judges have now been selected for the 19th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. The popular holiday competition will take place at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa on Nov. 14th. Contestants from across the United States will compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and a chance to show their gingerbread house on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“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 get the 2011 competition off and running,” said Ronald E. Morin, Vice-President and Managing Director at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.
Returning judges for the 2011 National Gingerbread House Competition are:
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” in America, by Dessert Professional Magazine. He is the owner of the International School of Sugar and Confectionary Arts in Atlanta, 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. from New York University’s Institute 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 the U.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 and Wales University where he earned his Associate Degree in Applied Science of Culinary Arts and was awarded the Cordon Bleu award.
New media judges for the 2011 National Gingerbread House Competition are:
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 in New York. Heather can be seen anchoring America’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 in New 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 (Raleigh NC): 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.
Applications for The National Gingerbread House Competition are now available at www.groveparkinn.com. Contestants may deliver their gingerbread houses to The Grove Park Inn Grand Ballroom starting on Sunday, Nov. 13th, from 2 -8 p.m. and again on Monday, Nov. 14th, from 7-8:30 a.m. The judging begins on Nov. 14th, with the awards presented that day at 5 p.m.
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. 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 will be on display at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa from Nov. 16, 2011, to Jan. 1, 2012. The public is invited to view the displays any Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Groups and bus charters are required to call ahead for reservations.
About The Grove Park Inn Resort & 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.