Three weeks of brainstorming, sketching, baking and decoration has paid off for two Delview Secondary students and their fellow teammates, as they took top prize at the Hyatt Regency’s annual gingerbread contest.
Grade 12 student Rochelle Lawrence and Grade 11 student Allison Shields are of the Vancouver Community College baking and pastry arts department, and their class placed first in the professional category for their sugary creation.
“Everything is edible and hand made,” said Lawrence as she described her class’ contest entry.
The theme of their entry was “Waiting for Santa” with a home on Christmas Eve.
The entry featured a bed with kids anxiously waiting, an ivy garland dressed fireplace, a fully decorated Christmas tree, cookies and milk set out, and in the distance, through the window, and Santa seen being led by his reindeer through the night sky.
Lawrence and Shields are part of the VCC class because of a program called ACE IT – Accelerated Credit Enrollment Industry Training.
The program allows students to complete part of their post-secondary education while still in high school.
It is a partnership between the school district and post-secondary institutions. Students get at least level one of the technical training component of the trade they are studying, while also completing high school.
Not only does ACE IT allow students to get a significant head start in a trade, but the Delta School District also pays for the post-secondary tuition component.
“It was such a relief when I found out about the ACE IT program,” said Shields, noting that it puts her a step ahead on her career path and will make it easier to afford business school, which she hopes to pair with her VCC training to open up a bakery.
“I wouldn’t be able to afford college,” said Lawrence.
Both students are passionate about baking and are thankful for the formal training they are now receiving.
As part of the VCC baking and pastry arts program, they have learned basic baking techniques such as making muffins, cookies and puff pastries, have been taught how to make bread and yeast products, and have also studied cake making and decorating – skills that came in handy for the gingerbread contest.
Their gingerbread entry took 94 kilos of ingredients.
All sorts of sweet components were incorporated, including marzipan, fondant, pastillage, Rice Crispy squares, chocolate modeling paste and couverture, icing, and, of course, gingerbread.
All of the entries in the gingerbread contest will be on display in “Gingerbread Lane” at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver (655 Burrard St.) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Dec. 27. Visitors are encouraged to make a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.