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A Holiday Tradition, Gingerbread Houses Head To Union Station

Gingerbread houses crafted by Kansas City Public Schools culinary arts students are on their way to Union Station, where they’ll be on display until Christmas.

“They make some amazing things,” says Rashawn Caruthers, director of Career and Technical Education for KCPS. “One year they made SpongeBob’s house. It’s not just your traditional gingerbread house.”

There’s no pineapple under the sea this year, but one team painstakingly crafted Snoopy’s dog house. The public will have a chance to vote for their favorite gingerbread houses. The top three student bakers win prizes, usually restaurant or movie gift cards.

Chef Dan Hogan, who oversees the pastry classroom at Manual Career and Technical Center, says students do nearly all of the work themselves, from researching gingerbread design to baking the dough.

“We were there to support them, and we helped them pick houses that more realistic or what was more feasible for our time span,” Hogan says.

Liliana Ortiz, Northeast High School

Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Liliana Ortiz's gingerbread house featured painstaking crafted icing icicles and a fence made out of pretzels.

On what the hardest part of building the gingerbread house was:

“The icicles. I had to freeze the icing to hang on there.”

On why she enrolled in the culinary arts program:

“My sister told me it was very fun, and I wanted to learn something really new. It’s pretty fun.”

Dabriauna Babbles & Kavin Hurd, Southeast High School

Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Dabriauna Babbles and Kavin Hurd used melted Jolly Ranchers to create windows for their 'Home Alone'-inspired gingerbread house.

On how they decided on a design for their gingerbread house:

Kavin: “We researched it online and were looking through different gingerbread houses, and we came across this one. It kind of reminded us of the house from ‘Home Alone.’”

On what the hardest part of building the gingerbread house was:

Dabriauna: “Building the roof, that was the hardest part right there. When setting things up, you have to have a form of some type, so we had to build something under it to make it stand completely.”

On why they enrolled in the culinary arts program:

Dabriauna: “I love cooking, and I felt culinary arts was the perfect thing for me.”

Kavin: “I like food.”

Next week KCUR looks at how different schools are teaching culinary arts in Kansas City.

Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.