It took a village to win the 2018 Rehoboth Beach Gingerbread Contest, which was held Saturday, Nov. 24 at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach.
Four SoDel Concepts chefs joined forces to bake up a tasty town featuring the hospitality group’s restaurants. The Indian River Inlet Bridge, placed in the center, was the indigo jewel in the crown.
The holiday confection is the creation of chef Ronnie Burkle, director of operations; Danielle Panarello, a pastry chef and the director of operations at The Clubhouse at Baywood; Maggie Cellitto, a pastry chef and executive chef at Matt’s Fish Camp in Bethany Beach; and Dru Tevis, the new corporate pastry chef for the company.
SoDel Concepts has 10 restaurants in coastal Sussex County, but only the restaurants with distinctive buildings, such as Catch 54 and Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Rehoboth Beach, were recreated in the village. The rest are honored with gingerbread billboards. A tribute to the organization’s canine mascots is scrawled across miniature World War II towers.
Photos courtesy of SoDel Concepts
Tevis, who joined SoDel Concepts in October, said the village took a combined 60 hours to make. He made the bridge out of pastillage, a type of icing made with sugar, gelatin and water that sets quickly and becomes rigid.
“It was fragile,” says Tevis, who has a degree in pastry arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York, now the International Culinary Center. “We were nervous about transporting it.” He assembled it on site using ice cream cones as pylons.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SODEL CONCEPTS
Many of the entries were auctioned off, but the SoDel Concepts Village, which won the Judge’s Award, was too large to sell. The chefs hope to display it at Bluecoast Seafood Grill in Rehoboth Beach.
The event raised money for the church’s Christmas Joy! 365, which supports the West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program and helps meet the needs of homeless students in the Cape Henlopen School District.
Tevis, who previously worked for Nage and took a year’s hiatus to study pastry across the country, is currently creating recipes for each of SoDel Concepts’ restaurants.