With 10 pounds of white royal icing and 18 massive sheets of laser cut gingerbread, Kristina Stephenson and her team of elves spent Sunday building an extra sweet replica of Avista’s Post Street Substation. As a pastry chef at Northern Quest Casino, Kristina finds joy in creating beautiful desserts. This is by far the largest and most elaborate treat she’s ever created.
“I feed off of this. I like to take on big projects,” said Kristina Stephenson.
The 14th annual Gingerbread Build-Off raises about $25,000 every year for Christ Kitchen. The non-profit helps women living in poverty learn new job skills, so one day they can support themselves and their children.
“I think it’s fantastic, it makes it worth all the long hours we’ve put into this,” said Emma Benson, one of Kristina’s elves.
The Post Street Substation has been a civic icon overlooking the Spokane Falls since 1909--making it a perfect choice for the build-off theme of local, historic landmarks. To re-create the massive brick building using at least 60% gingerbread, as required, Kristina knew she’d need an architect on her team.
“It’s like a big puzzle,” said Tony Janson, an architect with Womer and Associates.
To make sure every single arched window and intricate detail was exact, Tony referenced copies of the original substation blueprints. Tony spent more than 24 hours building the base and model of the substation.
Kristina and her team made the gingerbread from scratch using a special brick pattern rolling pin. The sheets of gingerbread were then gingerly transported to the Spokane Valley, where CDA Metal laser cut each sheet to match the iconic design.
With just three hours to create the building, the team worked quickly--icing, measuring, and getting every Twizzler tree just right. A set of twinkling lights inside the building, illuminate the gelatin windows and river of blue Jell-O below.
“It’s like we’re kids again,” said Emma.
As pastry chefs, this group of volunteers is used to their delicious treats disappearing quickly. Not, this time.
“I like the feeling of community during the holiday season and putting a smile on people’s face--it’s like they just light up,” said David Knight, another elf who made candy rocks for the build-off.
The building is so magical, the team received the Board of Directors Award. You can see the beautiful gingerbread creation up close at The Davenport Grand Hotel through the holiday season.