Westin Verasa Napa & La Toque’s Third Annual Gingerbread House Contest


General Manager Don Shindle of The Westin Verasa Napa and Executive Chef Ken Frank of La Toque, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, are pleased to announce that the property will host its third annual gingerbread house contest on Sunday, December 15 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. This family-friendly, community holiday event will be open to the public, including guests of the hotel, who will be able to vote for their favorite showcased gingerbread house.  All proceeds generated through entry fees, raffle ticket sales and donations will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley.

“We’re so pleased to host the third annual Gingerbread House competition and to again support the important work of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley,” said Frank. “This community building event brings together both locals and hotel guests alike to enjoy this quintessential holiday experience, we’re thrilled that the competition has continued to grow in popularity.”

Open to all ages, the contest will consist of two entry categories:  professional (currently working in a professional kitchen or having worked in one within the past year) and amateur bakers.  Team entries, defined as two to five individuals working on a single entry, are also welcome.  For participants under the age of 18, a signature from a parent or legal guardian is required.

While The Westin Verasa Napa and La Toque’s holiday contest is noted as a Gingerbread House Contest, entries are not limited to the classic gingerbread house structure; rather, contestants are encouraged to use creativity and originality in designing their structures as long as they keep within the rules, regulations and judging criteria outlined below:

Size Limitations, Identification & Description:

  • Entries must not exceed 24 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches long, including the structure’s base.
  • Entries must be placed on a board base.  Use of ½-inch or ¾-inch plywood is recommended.
  • Name, address and entry number must be written on the underside of the base.
  • Entries must include a typed one-page description highlighting any unique features and materials used in the construction process, as well as the name of the entry and the entry number.  Contestants should not include their names on the description sheet.

Materials & Construction:

  • Except for the base, entries must be constructed and composed completely out of edible materials with the main structure made mostly out of gingerbread; no gingerbread kits will be allowed.
  • Bases must be completely concealed by an edible product; however, the sides of the base may be exposed or concealed with paint or ribbon or other material if preferred.
  • Edible materials are not limited to sweets.
  • No artificial display materials such as Styrofoam or interior lighting are to be used.
  • Candies must be un-wrapped and free of any non-edible materials — for example, lollipop sticks.

Judging Process & Criteria:

Professional judging will be held on Sunday, December 15 from noon to 12:30 p.m.  The judging panel will consist of local chefs, bakers and pastry chefs from dining destinations and establishments throughout the Napa Valley.  The formal awards ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m., at which time winners will be announced.  Entries will be judged separately in the amateur and professional categories on overall appearance, originality and creativity, choice and use of materials, difficulty, precision, and consistency of theme.  Additionally, voting will be open to the general public from 12:30 to 2 p.m. for a Viewer’s Choice Award in both the professional and amateur categories.

Placing & Prizes:

The Westin Verasa and La Toque will award a Grand Prize winner and Runner Up for both the Professional and Amateur categories. A prize will also be given for the People’s Choice Award winner.  Prize information is as follows:

  • Professional Grand Prize Award:  Dinner for two at La Toque and a one-night stay in a One-Bedroom Premium Suite at The Westin Verasa Napa.
  • Professional Runner Up Award: Dinner for two at BANK Café and Bar.
  • Amateur Grand Prize Award:  Dinner for two at La Toque and a one-night stay in an Deluxe Room at The Westin Verasa Napa.
  • Amateur Runner Up Award: Dinner for two at BANK Café and Bar.
  • Viewer’s Choice Award: Dinner for two at La Toque restaurant.

Delivery, Display & Pick-up of Structures:

  • Completed entries must be delivered to The Westin Verasa Napa on Sunday, December 15 between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
  • Entries will be on display in the lobby of The Westin Verasa Napa beginning Sunday, December 15 and will remain on display through Sunday, December 29, 2013.
  • Entries must be picked up between 8 a.m. and noon on Sunday, December 29, 2013. Entries not picked up within the designated time period will be discarded, without exception, beginning the morning of Monday, December 30, 2013.

How to Register:

Entry forms may be obtained by visiting The Westin Verasa Napa or La Toque at 1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA, 94559, or by downloading a PDF form at www.WestinNapa.com or www.LaToque.com.  A signed and completed entry form must be mailed or dropped off to the attention of Megan Menicucci at La Toque prior to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2013, along with a check in the amount of $25 made out to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley. One hundred percent of all entry fees will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley. Entry numbers will be assigned upon receipt of completed entry forms. All contestants will receive an e-mail with entry number confirming their entry into the 2013 contest.  Due to space, only a limited number of entries will be accepted into the contest.

For additional questions regarding the contest or rules and regulations please email Megan Menicucci, at Megan@LaToque.com.