On Thursday, July 6, The Omni Grove Park Inn announced the registration opening for the 31st National Gingerbread House Competition, the nation’s largest, hosted at the resort annually. The official rules and entry form have now been released on the hotel’s website.
Bakers of all ages and skill levels are invited to build whimsical cabins of candy, gumdrop-adorned castles and sugar-spun landscapes to compete for an opportunity to win a piece of more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, across the four age categories – Adult, Teen, Youth and Child. Competitors will come from all over the country to participate in the enchantment of gingerbread, with entrants even coming from as far as Guatemala to showcase their gingerbread talent.
Returning for the 2023 season will be the Chef Nicholas Lodge Awards that were introduced last year in honor of the late Chef Nicholas Lodge, with categories including Best Use of Sprinkles, Most Unique Ingredient, Longest Standing Competitor, Best Use of Color, Pop Culture Star and Most Innovative Structure. Additionally, back by popular demand, the People's Choice: Best in Show Award will be returning, allowing all registered competitors the opportunity to vote on their favorite piece of the entire competition.
This year, the competition will introduce a new judge. Yolanda Gampp, also known as the “Queen of Cakes,” is a celebrity cake artist, judge on FOX’s Crime Scene Kitchen, two-time best-selling cookbook author and a co-founder of How To Cake It. The panel of returning competition judges include lead judge Mark Seaman, culinary applications chef for Barry Callebaut; Cheryl Forberg, James Beard Award-winning chef and dietitian; Geoff Blount, pastry chef and teacher; John Cook, executive pastry chef at The Omni Grove Park Inn; Steven Stellingwerf, pastry chef, author and teacher; Aaron Morgan, executive pastry chef at the Stable Café on The Biltmore Estate, and Ashleigh Shanti, chef/owner of Good Hot Fish & 2020 James Beard finalist.
“Gingerbread is a truly magical time here at The Omni Grove Park Inn,” says Isabel Miller, senior marketing and events manager for The Omni Grove Park Inn. “From the competitors who have been competing for years to those participating for the first time to each visitor who comes from far and wide to experience the gingerbread cheer, the competition has become an iconic holiday tradition for all.”
The 31st Annual National Gingerbread House Competition registration is open now through Monday, November 13. The competition will be held on Monday, November 20, with an awards ceremony following in the Grand Ballroom. Judging is closed to the public. The awards ceremony is reserved for contestants and their families only. The official Gingerbread display at the hotel begins on November 27 and will continue through January 2, 2024.