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Holiday Gingerbread Showdown

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I'm moving my post about the Gingerbread Challenge from the Holiday Baking show here:

On the  Gingerbread show, wasn't the man who won the first show, Van, on the Wedding Cake contest with his mother? Sure looks like him to me, hat and all. I enjoyed his building but the woman who won the second contest, was great! That was some work of art she did! I am enjoying this series, and since it is only 4 shows long, shouldn't get tired of it!!

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That is indeed, Van, from the Wedding Cake show.  He was so, so thrilled to win his Gingerbread episode and I cheered for him.  The woman who won episode #2 is VERY good -- wow.  I'm enjoying Marcela on this show whereas I've never enjoyed her before.  I like seeing Adam from Sift Bakery as a judge -- he is knowledgeable and steady.  Kerri Vincent is a major force in the baking world and brings great wisdom -- she's seen it all.  The blue-haired woman on episode #2 was painful to watch and even worse to hear.  I had to mute the TV when she spoke.

Edited by MerBearHou
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(Moving my post over here too)

The guy that won last week wasn't my favorite, but the lady who won this week was the one I thought deserved it. I like the judges for the most part.

I'm not familiar with the female judges, but the older lady really seems to know her stuff. And good to see whathisname from whichever baking show that was he won - lol. Marcela seems so different on this show than the other baking shows I've seen her on - so carefree and lighthearted. 

The thing I'm dying to know is how the lady who did the New Orleans inspired gingerbread theme on the last show managed to elevate the humble rice krispies treat.

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20 hours ago, MerBearHou said:

The blue-haired woman on episode #2 was painful to watch and even worse to hear.  I had to mute the TV when she spoke.

OMG!!  I had to mute my TV as well.  What an assault on the ears!  She seems like a very sweet lady, but her voice and her fashion sense just was a big NOOO.  The blue hair could have been OK if she'd worn another colored shirt.  The sunny yellow plaid shirt was cute and trendy, and that shade of yellow is amazing on people with dark skin IMO.  However the hair and the shirt combined just looked so wrong together. 

The winner for Ep 2 was definitely head and shoulders above the other 2 re. talent and ability to follow the dossier.  The "Movie House" thing was cute with the dancing penguins, but it wasn't anything that I associated with the movie "Elf".  Same for the Mardi Gras inspired headless Buddy display.

I really like Kerry Vincent & Adam as judges.  Wonder if Adam is in talks with getting his own show on Food Network?  He definitely has talent, camera appeal and he speaks with authority about baking since he has skills and experience to back it up.

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6 hours ago, BusyOctober said:

I really like Kerry Vincent & Adam as judges.  Wonder if Adam is in talks with getting his own show on Food Network?  He definitely has talent, camera appeal and he speaks with authority about baking since he has skills and experience to back it up.

Me too!  I really liked Adam on Best Bakers and I'd definitely watch his show if he gets one.  He's an expert with real skills.

Kerry Vincent had a show some years back that was a copy of a Buddy Valastro show during which Buddy went to failing bakeries and saved them a la Restaurant Impossible only much more nicely.  Kerry's show was stilted and not very appealing and lasted only a few episodes.  I suspect she won't try that again.

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I thought the Blue Haired lady’s Madrid Gras display was a hot mess. I liked the dancing penguins but as Kerry poinyrf out, the outside has a lot of problems. The winning piece was just beautiful.

i am looking forward to the final. Except I won’t know who to cheer for!

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Also finding Adam a thoughtful, interesting judge. He strikes a nice balance of technical talk with more general comments. I'd like to see him on Food Network more. I always love Kerry Vincent and this show is no exception (I even watched her short-lived Save My Bakery show). And, yeah, Marcela's a lot of fun on this show. 

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I watched one of these shows the other day and Jason was on as a judge.  Did he get his own show?  Open a restaurant?  The host introduced him as a "renowned chef" - I thought he was a elementary school cafeteria manager before he won a few of these competition shows.  

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Latest episode: lady who wanted to make it seem like she would compete in 6” heels had me rolling my eyes. 

 

Thay said, I think she should have won. Yes, Beatriz’s design was technically beautiful but I don’t think she nailed the theme. 

Edited by TimetoShine
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I think the guy who was so sure he had the win tied down actually was third in the judges' minds.  Both women did well.  My guess is it came down to good work plus good representation of theme versus excellent work and stunning finished display with theme less obvious.  I was totally OK with the final decision.  

I have never cared for Marcela and her super perky, well-rehearsed sing song commentary is really getting on my nerves.  Molly seems totally out of her depth at the judging table and she bares her teeth when she smiles just like Giada.  Adam and Kerry Vincent are clearly the experts.  I hope we see more of both of them.

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10 hours ago, TimetoShine said:

Thay said, I think she should have won. Yes, Beatriz’s design was technically beautiful but I don’t think she nailed the theme. 

While Beatriz did not capture the theme as well, she put a lot more hand work and detail into her gingerbread. This was for a $25k prize. You need to pull out all the stops. She made her own gelatin windows, sculpted all the toys, and hand piped all those decorations while high heels merely used premade edible paper and a hole punch, slapped on some red frosting and drew lines through it, and painted cookie cutter cookies as her elves. Beatriz’s team also hand sculpted her figures which is why they didn’t have as many. She had lights and a working crank. It was amazing down to the smallest details.

 

What really got me was when high heel lady said “all cutures celebrate christmas.” Umm what? 

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Arlene’s Noo Yawk accent was killing me.  I love chocolate, but hearing her say “CHAWK-lit” is making me rethink that. However, the lady is super talented.  Her decorating and painting skills are amazing. 

Beatriz blew my mind.  Those details and piping skills are the best I have ever seen.  And she made her own gelatin windows!  I was impressed with Ricky’s blue stained glass isolmalt window too, but Beatriz is the Queen.

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4 hours ago, oldCJ said:

While Beatriz did not capture the theme as well, she put a lot more hand work and detail into her gingerbread. This was for a $25k prize. You need to pull out all the stops. She made her own gelatin windows, sculpted all the toys, and hand piped all those decorations while high heels merely used premade edible paper and a hole punch, slapped on some red frosting and drew lines through it, and painted cookie cutter cookies as her elves. Beatriz’s team also hand sculpted her figures which is why they didn’t have as many. She had lights and a working crank. It was amazing down to the smallest details.

 

What really got me was when high heel lady said “all cutures celebrate christmas.” Umm what? 

Arlene annoyed me with her snide comments about the others' entries and how superior her own was, a trait I find annoying.  Frankly, I think the judges would rather see another entry from Beatriz than they would from Arlene.  And Ricky's "should I ring the bell?  Should I ring the bell now???" got on my nerves after awhile.  Yes, you have an advantage, but really, don't be an annoying fuck about it.  However, Ricky did redeem himself to me somewhat with his incredible respect for Beatriz's talent.  

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Beatriz is so clever to use panty hose to strain her royal icing! She is a true master and is too good for this competition.  I found her website so I could drool over her other creations:

http://www.cakesbybeatriz.com/

Marcella and her blindingly white teeth really drove me nuts this episode.

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1 hour ago, Spunkygal said:

Beatriz is so clever to use panty hose to strain her royal icing! She is a true master and is too good for this competition.  I found her website so I could drool over her other creations:

http://www.cakesbybeatriz.com/

Marcella and her blindingly white teeth really drove me nuts this episode.

What talent.  I can only imagine what she'll come up with for the finale.  

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 It doesn't seem fair to put other contestants up against Beatriz.   Nothing I've seen on this show or the Halloween Gingerbread show even comes close (and since they can work at home they don't have the usual unrealistic time constraint excuse).  If anything , she should be a judge.  I would gladly ditch both Michelle and Adam for her.  I couldn't take 10 minutes Michelle's show and I find Adam to be arrogant.

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Wow.  Her cakes are right up there with Ron Ben-Israel and Karen Portaleo.  I can easily see why she hasn't participated on other FN shows involving cakes.  She can't do work of that quality with inadequate time and ridiculous twists.  At least with the gingerbread show she had a head start.

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Yeah, it's a pet peeve of mine when themes aren't followed but Beatriz's work was so far above the others, I am ok with the result. I am dying to see what she does for the finale. But I thought Arlene did well and would love to see on another show. I'm silly; I like when all the competitors do well, but then I feel bad that they do well and lose. 

Arlene's assistant, Holly, looked familiar. I knew I'd seen her on some Food Network competition. They helpfully identify them, so I could look her up. Turns out she and Arlene competed against each other on an episode of last year's Christmas Cookie Challenge. 

Edited by Darian
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7 hours ago, Darian said:

Arlene's assistant, Holly, looked familiar. I knew I'd seen her on some Food Network competition. They helpfully identify them, so I could look her up. Turns out she and Arlene competed against each other on an episode of last year's Christmas Cookie Challenge. 

Thanks for this. I thought I had seen them both before and was guessing it was that show.

I am stunned by Beatriz's work. So crazy talented and so much detail. The guy who made the ugly brutalist gingerbread factory can take a seat. He got an annoying edit for sure.

Edited by jcbrown · Reason: capital letters are our friends when used correctly
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5 hours ago, jcbrown said:

The guy who made the ugly brutalist gingerbread factory can take a seat. He got an annoying edit for sure.

I thought it was hilarious when one of the judges said his red-and-white striped smokestack(?) looked like a nuclear power plant cooling tower.  Merry Christmas!  You're radioactive!

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21 hours ago, Maverick said:

I couldn't take 10 minutes Michelle's show and I find Adam to be arrogant.

I 100% agree! Adam was annoying when he competed on one of the holiday championship shows (and lost) and really arrogant on best baker (which he almost lost) and now as a judge he acts like he is the only one who ever won anything on Food Network!!! He just gets on my nerves.

 

On the other side - Arlene was on the christmas cookie challenge and so was her cohort Holly. Holly was the one who took all the spices and molasses and still lost because when she made her puzzle she didn't mark the pieces before she cooked them so when they came out of the oven she couldn't get them back together so had to make a new puzzle and Arlene didn't get the theme right because hers wasn't technically a puzzle and so she lost. They competed on the same show. Additionally, Holly was on the wedding cake challenge. I think she won that, but I can't remember for sure.

Sorry this is a repeat. I did not realize someone already posted about Arlene and Holly.

Edited by jlc · Reason: Had to get Holly's name right.
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1 hour ago, jlc said:

On the other side - Arlene was on the christmas cookie challenge and so was her cohort Holly. Holly was the one who took all the spices and molasses and still lost because when she made her puzzle she didn't mark the pieces before she cooked them so when they came out of the oven she couldn't get them back together so had to make a new puzzle and Arlene didn't get the theme right because hers wasn't technically a puzzle and so she lost. They competed on the same show. Additionally, Holly was on the wedding cake challenge. I think she won that, but I can't remember for sure.

Sorry this is a repeat. I did not realize someone already posted about Arlene and Holly.

Thanks for the extra detail. Now I definitely remember them. That must be why I kept looking at Holly and wondering why I had a vague sense of not liking her.

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I think the nuclear workshop guy was just on Christmas Cookie Challenge too. I think he was in the picture frame episode and was the only one to get his to stand up. 

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12 hours ago, jlc said:

IOn the other side - Arlene was on the christmas cookie challenge and so was her cohort Holly. Holly was the one who took all the spices and molasses and still lost because when she made her puzzle she didn't mark the pieces before she cooked them so when they came out of the oven she couldn't get them back together so had to make a new puzzle and Arlene didn't get the theme right because hers wasn't technically a puzzle and so she lost. They competed on the same show. Additionally, Holly was on the wedding cake challenge. I think she won that, but I can't remember for sure.

Sorry this is a repeat. I did not realize someone already posted about Arlene and Holly.

I didn't remember any of that, and I saw a repeat not long ago, so thanks. I just knew Holly looked familiar and went looking for what show she had been on. So I am glad for your info about them on the Christmas cookie show. Thank you!

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On 12/11/2018 at 7:46 PM, Maverick said:

I think the nuclear workshop guy was just on Christmas Cookie Challenge too. I think he was in the picture frame episode and was the only one to get his to stand up. 

I think you're right, now that I think about it. His picture frame was really good. Thanks for reminding me! :)

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At least I won't have to hear Beatriz tell us (once again) how she's the National Gingerbread House Competition winner. I think I got it.

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9 hours ago, GaT said:

At least I won't have to hear Beatriz tell us (once again) how she's the National Gingerbread House Competition winner. I think I got it.

To be fair, they probably asked her to say that and then kept repeating the same soundbite.

 

I thought she was the best choice to win. Van had a good idea, but it seemed like the majority of his piece was not gingerbread. All of the ornaments were white chocolate. Was the box part made from gingerbread? The big ornament was also a little off-kilter and the decorations inside looked rushed and unpolished. 

The cheerleader contestant is great at icing cookies, but everything was sort of flat. The only three dimensional part of her display was the "cardboard" box and the box that the big nutcracker cookie was standing in. 

Beatriz's was, to me, the most complex, but also totally different from what she did in her earlier round. I liked it when she commented on her technique, or the materials she was using. I suspect there was a higher level of difficulty in hers than what the other contestants made.  

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Beatriz was clearly head and shoulders above the rest that it was almost like watching amateurs compete with a great artist. That said there were things about each piece that I liked, but felt that the final was a bit of a letdown. I really wish they had more time to make something great. Beatriz is phenomenally talented but it is clear she goes for a more handcrafted finely detailed naturalistic approach which does not always jive with the Food Network's tacky "wow factor" aesthetic. Speaking of Food Network, my favorite show used to be Food Network Challenge (where Kerry was often a judge). I hate that the Challenge show has been replaced by all the "War" show (Cupcake Wars, Cake Wars) where there is never any time to put together truly impressive pieces. 

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I liked all of the final works but Beatriz did deserve the win! I had to laugh tho' when the tasting feature was added! They just had to know that was going to happen so they shouldn't  grouse about the extra work...you know they already had something planned. I did enjoy this challenge but I really liked a gingerbread show that was on last year where we saw a whole year's work from start to finish. It was amazing watching the contestants getting their work to the final destination(somewhere in NC I think). I can't imagine trying to move something like that fragile work in a car for great distances and some were from all over! The one I remember most was the replica of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow...what a lot of work. Not sure but I think Beatriz was on that show also.

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Beatriz's work was beautiful.  She just annoyed me on a personal level, although given that english is her second language that might be why some of her commentary came off snotty? snobbish? demeaning? to me. Also, again she was near the theme but not quite on the theme.  It was a beautiful tree and quite a feat of engineering.  She also beat out Van in that she certainly relied on gingerbread rather than other materials.  I just didn't get the sense of the event. Still very impressive and she clearly knows her stuff. It also seemed like she had well experienced staff helping her which is a major advantage.  She is at a very different level from the other folks. 

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I agree with all the comments above including that Beatriz's personality/ego is just slightly off-putting.  She is a master of her craft though.  

I thought all three creations for the finale seemed somewhat less impressive than the contestants' previous ones, maybe because they had started the others at home and had plenty of time to get the basics done and they had only a few hours for the finale.  

I loved seeing Kerry Vincent again and I really like Adam but Molly Yeh is way out of her depth sitting along side them.  Her big toothy Giada smile annoys me.

The best part of this show coming to an end is knowing we will no longer be subjected to that commercial that seemed to be on every 10 minutes with Marcela sing-songing "I've got a surprise for you."  That was so obnoxious that I was complaining out loud.  To myself.  In an otherwise empty room.  

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Beatrice’s was the most intricate but it didn’t say Christmas to me. I thought the green tree looked muddy and dull.

i really liked Stephanie’s. 

Beatrice was just annoying with all her commentary and remarks about she is so much better than the other two. She may do lovely work, but I don’t like her.

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 Beatriz definitively came off as arrogant and condescending.   At first I was chalking it up to editing and producer prompting but I do think it was at least partially her true personality.   She is incredibly talented and false humility can be as based as conceit.   But when you're competing against people who aren't on your level, you should err on the side of humility.  Talking smack about someone not in your league is not a good look.  When she was talking about the one competitor being 'common' vs. her 'artistic' work, I think that was all her and came off as bitchy.   Where she annoyed me the most, though, was telling Marcella she didn't care if she lost of the colors, she was in for 'the art' and was going to do what she wanted.  It's all well and good to want to be true to your vision, but if you're going to enter a contest you should have to play by the rules of the game.  She did the same thing in Round 1 when she basically flipped the middle finger to the theme and did the piece she wants.  And she can say she's not worried about winning or the money, but I strongly suspect she think she's so much better than everyone else she can win even with ignoring the theme.   

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13 hours ago, mlp said:

The best part of this show coming to an end is knowing we will no longer be subjected to that commercial that seemed to be on every 10 minutes with Marcela sing-songing "I've got a surprise for you."  That was so obnoxious that I was complaining out loud.  To myself.  In an otherwise empty room.  

100% Agree! Glad to know I am not the only one! lol

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15 hours ago, mlp said:

The best part of this show coming to an end is knowing we will no longer be subjected to that commercial that seemed to be on every 10 minutes with Marcela sing-songing "I've got a surprise for you."  That was so obnoxious that I was complaining out loud.  To myself.  In an otherwise empty room.  

lol lol lol i had the exact same reaction, that commercial was driving me absolutely nuts.  the one for Holiday Baking Championship isn't much better (Lorraine:  yes! yes! yes!)

Beatriz's snarky comments kind of entertained me.  I mean, I can certainly understand why other people would find them obnoxious.  It reminded me of the old SNL sketch where Martina Navratilova kept showing up to prove how much better she was at everything than Chris Evert.  Anybody?  No?  lol

That said, her work was stunning.  STUNNING.  I don't often say anything nice about anyone on any Food Network show (ha!) but I was pretty blown away by the quality of her piping.

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1 hour ago, ruffy666 said:

It reminded me of the old SNL sketch where Martina Navratilova kept showing up to prove how much better she was at everything than Chris Evert.  Anybody?  No?  lol

 


I'm glad that annoying Marcella commercial has finally gone away too. I've tried to like her over the years especially after her departure from The Kitchen. At least there weren't many things from Mexico on this show that she had to over enunciate when describing or explaining. She used to do that on the Kitchen and it drove me crazy.

I didn't mind Molly as a judge on this show and realize that it's probably an unpopular opinion.  

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10 minutes ago, Jaded said:

I didn't mind Molly as a judge on this show and realize that it's probably an unpopular opinion

I didn't mind Molly either!  Oddly I liked her better on this show than on her own "Girl Meets Farm".  Beatriz is certainly very skilled and it's unfair to call her a "one trick pony" but she sure relies on the Victorian, lacey piping quite a lot.  Her final piece was stunning with the cutouts and hanging ornaments but the very muted colors and lack of Christmassy feel weren't what I would be drawn to.   Van is so tightly wound -- he needs to cut out some caffeine or I'm afraid he's going to keel over at a young age.  I like him though!  Stephanie, the former cheerleader (ugh) did those cartoony faces for her kids and that look always kind of creeps me out.  So yeah, Beatriz outshone them but her piece could've fit the theme better IMO.  She and Kerry Vincent are cut from the same cloth with their condescending manner of speaking.  But hey, I welcome Kerry on anything -- she is pretty amazing.  I like Adam too -- his gravitas is a good thing for the Food Network.  Marcela and her sing-songness -- she has GOT to stop that!  It's like she should actually be teaching 4 year olds.

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On 12/17/2018 at 11:35 AM, suebee12 said:

... but I really liked a gingerbread show that was on last year where we saw a whole year's work from start to finish. It was amazing watching the contestants getting their work to the final destination(somewhere in NC I think). I can't imagine trying to move something like that fragile work in a car for great distances and some were from all over! The one I remember most was the replica of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow...what a lot of work. Not sure but I think Beatriz was on that show also.

Grove Park Inn in Asheville hosts a national gingerbread competition each year. I didn't see that show, but would have loved to -- the level of talent there is AMAZING. Both of my girls competed when they were young/teens. Oldest won fourth in the teen category one year. And yes, the car trip is nerve-wracking and THERE ARE SPEEDBUMPS leading to the hotel. lol

Edited by Broken Ox · Reason: double negatives don't not never work
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1 hour ago, Broken Ox said:

Grove Park Inn in Asheville hosts a national gingerbread competition each year. I didn't see that show, but would have loved to -- the level of talent there is AMAZING. Both of my girls competed when they were young/teens. Oldest won fourth in the teen category one year. And yes, the car trip is nerve-wracking and THERE ARE SPEEDBUMPS leading to the hotel. lol

You’re in luck! Gingerbread Giants 2 is on Sunday at 8 pm Central time! “Taking Cookie architecture to the next level, 5 Gingerbread artists from across the country go head to head at the 25th annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.” It will be aired again on Monday night too!

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1 hour ago, Spunkygal said:

You’re in luck! Gingerbread Giants 2 is on Sunday at 8 pm Central time! “Taking Cookie architecture to the next level, 5 Gingerbread artists from across the country go head to head at the 25th annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.” It will be aired again on Monday night too!

Thank you!  Can't wait!

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Gingerbread Giants was beyond amazing! I don’t want to discuss the results yet because I think some posters aren’t watching until tonight, but WOW! I can’t wait to hear who was everyone’s favorite entry! 

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2 hours ago, Madding crowd said:

It was amazing and my favorite was the reindeer playing poker. I was quickly tired of the woman who “invented” gingerbread dough.

Agree on both counts. The reindeer were amazingly detailed and adorable. And sit down, sweetie, it's not like you cured cancer; you made clay out of gingerbread. It may have been producer-driven that she came off as so full of herself but they can't use footage you won't give them.

ETA: I also loved the Hickory Dickory Dock one. And I think the creepy one with the grim reaper was more well-done than the one that won. It almost seems like they should have two divisions of competition: one for people who work by hand and one for those who use things like lasers and 3D printers.

Edited by jcbrown
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Many of those creations are just amazing.  I was surprised by the grand prize winner.  I didn't find it anywhere near as interesting to look at as some of the others.  I loved the clock, the reindeer and the house made by the nice woman with the accent who hadn't entered before.  I also liked the arching tree made by the man who made top ten.

Quote

And sit down, sweetie, it's not like you cured cancer; you made clay out of gingerbread. It may have been producer-driven that she came off as so full of herself but they can't use footage you won't give them.

Totally agree.  She was self-important and smug too.

I wonder if the competitors have to pay an entry fee.  From what I could see in shots of the tables it looked like there were dozens of entries that didn't begin to measure up to the ones featured.  Perhaps a lot of people think their creations are better than they are or maybe they just want the experience of participating and learning.  I'm not creative or artistic so I give them all a lot of credit for skills and patience I'd never have for that intricate work.

I didn't see Beatriz anywhere.

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 I get the judge's point that it still takes skill to assemble and decorate a piece even using the laser cutting,   But it still feels like a unfair comparison against other pieces.   It's supposed to be a test of skill and a laser is always going to give you a cleaner piece than anything done by hand, even by the most skilled artist.   It's like people who buy these fancy sewing machines that you can program anything into and it stitches it for you and enter it against someone who hand quilts it.    

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The reindeer playing poker was my favorite, too! So many adorable, wonderfully crafted tiny details! There should be a separate category for entries where X% is crafted using laser. The tiny tools in that entry was amazing, though. I also loved the woodland animal entry where she had the tree roots growing under the piece! Very clever. Those judges don't miss a thing. They were super picky about some of the painting details that I would never have noticed. This competition shows what can be constructed if given plenty of time! It was also cool to see so many kids who entered. 

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Just finished Gingerbread Giants, and my top three would have been the clock, the reindeer playing poker, and the tree with the woodland creatures, with honorable mention going to the woman from New York who entered for the first time.

I totally agree with those who say the laser cutting was unfair. I'll give them credit for transporting their creation in as many separate pieces as possible to prevent as damage; the woman from California probably should have tried a similar procedure. 

Damn, the three-time winner was grating as hell. I remember her from a special on Travel Channel a few years back when she nabbed her third victory. If she wanted that much credit for inventing ginger clay, she should have tried to patent it and put her face on the packaging. The edible fabric was terribly clever and ingenious, her attitude just worked my nerves. 

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