Instructor coordinates gingerbread house village project

Students were graded for the gingerbread houses they built.

Students were graded for the gingerbread houses they built.

Building gingerbread houses, a popular holiday activity, became a means for San Jacinto College pastry arts students to improve culinary skills in a recent class project.

“During this time of year, pastry chefs all over town create gingerbread houses and villages,” commented San Jacinto College pastry chef instructor Andrea Huerta, who conceived the concept, and coordinated the gingerbread house village class project. “Gingerbread house displays are commonly found in country clubs and hotels and it’s always the pastry chef that creates them. Putting together an entire village is quite an undertaking, and I wanted my students to build a village as a way of getting hands-on work experience.”

The pastry arts students created their individual houses, which collectively were grouped as a village, entirely from scratch. “They were not permitted to use store-bought kits because kits are more expensive than making everything from scratch,” said Huerta. “That’s what would be expected in the industry, as restaurants are always watching their bottom line.”

Each student was individually responsible for the entire house-making process, which included making the dough, portioning, rolling, baking, creating a design template, assembly and decoration. The class as a whole collaborated to create the village, which was on public display for a week.