You won’t find these inventive gingerbread houses in any Hansel and Gretel fairy tale.
From a gingerbread RV to a home made of pretzel sticks, two Payson High School aspiring pastry chefs show that times sure have changed in the often stale world of gingerbread.
PHS culinary arts students Elle Eavenson and Shoshanah Wright showed off their Christmas creations Nov. 20 at the Getting Our Just Desserts 2010 at the Phoenix Art Institute.
Mazatzal Hotel and Casino pastry chef Lucinda Flores, who offered up tasty triple chocolate cake with raspberry filling and autumn cupcakes, joined the students.
Proceeds from the annual benefit go to the Arizona Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).
“PHS participates in the C-CAP program since it provides wonderful scholarship opportunities,” said PHS teacher Devon Wells. “Local students have earned more than $101,000 in scholarships over the last five years.”
This year Eavenson and Wright entered the gingerbread house competition and both won medals and monetary prizes.
Eavenson, a senior, won two silver medals for her house and Wright, a junior, won two bronze medals for her motor home.
“This is the first time C-CAP has showcased students with a baking and pastry interest, and Payson culinary students had an impressive showing in the competition,” Wells said. “Both girls aspire to become pastry chefs in the future and plan to compete in the C-CAP scholarship competitions.”
Local residents can view the gingerbread houses at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino’s players club through Dec. 12.
Flores was one of 22 chefs who participated in the event.
Each chef brought two desserts and was on hand to answer questions about their creations.
Flores, who is a member of the Tonto Apache Tribe, has been working for Mazatzal Hotel and Casino since 1995. Her position in the bakery only started in July of 2009.
Before becoming a baker, in August of 2008 Flores participated in the Mazatzal’s Tribal Professional Development Program, a leadership development program.
Flores’ love of baking and encouragement from fellow employees prompted her to fulfill a lifelong goal of becoming a pastry chef.
Beginning in February of 2009, Flores attended the Classic Cooking Academy Pastry Program led by Chef Pascal Dionot in the Valley. In July of 2009, the Mazatzal bakery opened and Flores was hired on.
Flores said she looks forward to continuing her pastry education and to a long career spreading happiness with desserts.