Sodexo has sponsored the gingerbread U.S. Capitol for the last three years under the culinary leadership of Sodexo Executive Chef, Fred Johnson. His passion project involved 378 hours of planning, baking, and building. 110 pounds of icing, 175 pounds of gingerbread dough, and 315 cups of flour were used in the process, with the end result being a 6-foot-wide gingerbread replica of the U.S. Capitol now on display at the U.S. House of Representatives until January 3.

“I enjoy creating art with food and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they see the gingerbread Capitol makes me very proud. Improving quality of life is important to Sodexo and this is a fun way to make someone’s day a little better,” says Chef Johnson.

While most gingerbread houses may not be as ambitious, you can apply similar principles to yours to ensure success. Chef Johnson shares five tips for gingerbread houses in our latest slideshow.