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BOCES LoGuidice Center Hosts Annual Gingerbread House Bake-Off

Pictured in the foreground, seniors Brooke Riedel and Victoria Schultz took first place with their gingerbread carousel. Senior Lauren Quagliana, left, took second place with her gingerbread church. Seniors Seth Hood and Austin Ohlsson took third place with their gingerbread steamboat.

Students in Dave Caccamise’s culinary class could certainly give the contestants on the Great American Baking Show a run for their money.

For more than 20 years now, Caccamise has put his students’ baking skills — and creativity — to the test with this class project, the winners of which are determined by votes from the faculty and staff of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES LoGuidice Center.

On Wednesday, the staff voted on their favorite gingerbread house created by 11th grade students, as well as their favorite house created by the twelfth grade students. However, “house,” is hardly an adequate term to describe some of these unique culinary confections, which ranged from a steamboat, to a fire station, to a castle, to a carousel and so much more. To see all contest entries, view the slideshow on observertoday.com.

While all of the students’ creations were impressive, there were just three prizes awarded in each class for first, second and third place.

All entries were identified by numbers only to prevent bias or favoritism.

Eleventh graders Hunter Booth, Amber Krzyzanowski and Brenna Watson were named first place winners for the junior class with their gingerbread cabin, complete with a pond and swans, as well as a wooded area with grazing deer. Twelfth graders Brooke Riedel and Victoria Schultz were voted as the first place winners for the senior class with their gingerbread carousel, which rotated in a circle on its base.

In the junior class, Brooklyn Bane and Heather Fleck took second place with their gingerbread fire station. In the junior class, there was a tie for third place between Matt Abbatoy, Liam Huff and Jeffrey Schroeder and Tyler Ardillo, Brianna Dewey and Kendra Sharp.

See HOUSE, Page A10

From Page A5

In the senior class, Lauren Quagliana took second place with her gingerbread church, and Seth Hood and Austin Ohlsson took third place with their Chautauqua Belle-style gingerbread steamboat.

Not only is the competition an exercise in winning and losing, but it gave all students the opportunity to practice important culinary skills. Baking, measuring, using a pastry bag and “thinking outside the box,” or house, as it were, are all skills that the project required students to develop. Additionally, many students’ experiences included teamwork, as all junior students were required to work in pairs or small groups. Caccamise graded students’ projects based on four criteria: use of materials, creativity, overall appearance, “holiday spirit,” teamwork and individuality.

“A lot of people said that was the best contest they’ve seen here in years,” Caccamise said. “There was just a lot of creativity and imagination. I was very pleased with how well the students did.”

Caccamise commented on the impressive work of outgoing seniors Riedel and Shultz. “We’ve never had any gingerbread house that moved,” he exclaimed. “Although our seniors will be graduating this year, the juniors will have another year to compete, and it will be fun to see what they come up with next year.”

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