Gingerbread House Contest and Silent Auction Return to The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

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A portion of proceeds to benefit Coastside Children’s Programs.

Home Cooks First Place Winner by Carmen Hughes, 2004

The annual Gingerbread House contest attracts spectacular entries in each category every year, and the number of participants has grown exponentially

From iced Victorians to candy-covered castles, professional and amateur chefs of all ages will place finishing touches on gingerbread creations for the fourth annual Gingerbread House Contest at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay this holiday season. Entries will be accepted Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, with winners announced by Liam Mayclem, host of “Eye on the Bay” on CBS 5 at the resort’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration, Sunday, Dec. 9. Houses from all entry categories will be featured in a silent auction the same evening to benefit Coastside Children’s Programs (CCP) in Half Moon Bay. CCP is the number one childcare agency on the coast and has been serving children and families from multicultural and diverse socio-economic backgrounds for over 30 years.

“The annual Gingerbread House contest attracts spectacular entries in each category every year, and the number of participants has grown exponentially,” said Pete Ells, general manager. “The official rules allow for a great deal of creativity, and we’ve seen cathedrals, haunted houses, magic castles, beach chalets, and entire neighborhoods constructed of every edible substance imaginable. We’re looking forward to an even more exciting offering this year, and to continuing what is now a treasured resort tradition of gingerbread houses and community giving during the holiday season.”

All gingerbread house creations will be on public display beginning Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the resort’s lobby. Auction bids are accepted for houses Dec. 4, beginning at 12 p.m., to Sunday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

Pastry chefs from The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay will lead a cadre of judges, including local food writers and media personalities, in selecting the winners in each category. Criteria include structural design, creative use of materials, detailing, and overall design excellence. Judging of all gingerbread house entries will take place 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, December 9. Award winners will be announced during the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m.

Contest entrants who are registered overnight guests on Sunday, Dec. 9, receive a $100 credit towards their stay at the resort upon check-out.

The three categories in the Gingerbread House contest include: Children (12 and under); Home Cooks; and Culinary Students and Professional Chefs. All houses must measure a maximum of 3’x3’x3’ and be supported by a strong, flat base that is fully transportable. Entries will be accepted at the resort’s main entrance at One Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, Friday, Nov. 30, through Monday, Dec. 3, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. To qualify, all materials used in the gingerbread houses must be edible, with the exception of the support structure or frame, lighting and flat base. Although entering the contest is complimentary, a completed entry form is required for each creation. The deadline for entry forms is Thursday, November 29, without exception.

Each qualifying gingerbread house entered into the contest is eligible for the following awards:

Children, 12 and under: 1st – $200; 2nd - $150, 3rd – $100; People’s Choice – $50.

Home Cooks: 1st – One Overnight Stay in Coastal View Room and Chef’s Tasting Dinner for Two in Navio; 2nd – Chef’s Tasting Dinner for Two in Navio; 3rd – Admission for two to any two
“Inside the Kitchen” cooking class from January through April, 2008; People’s Choice – Two 60-minute treatments of choice in The Ritz-Carlton Spa.

Professional Chefs and Culinary School Students: 1st –Admission for two to the 2007 New Year’s Eve Gala; 2nd – One Overnight Stay in a Coastal View Room; 3rd – Chef’s Tasting Dinner for Two in Navio; People’s Choice – Two 60-minute treatments of choice in The Ritz-Carlton Spa.

Prizes cannot be exchanged and are subject to change.

For additional information, official contest rules and entry forms for the Gingerbread House Contest, please call 650-712-7696 or visit

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a 261-room destination spa and golf resort, 30 miles south of San Francisco. Set atop a rugged bluff overlooking 50 miles of pristine California coastline, the timeless oceanfront estate provides guests with a relaxed yet refined experience, whether for a romantic getaway, meeting or special event. The resort opened spring 2001 and has earned the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award for the sixth consecutive year. For reservations, please contact your travel professional or toll-free at (800) 241-3333. For additional information, please call the resort directly at (650) 712-7000, or visit

Photography available upon request.

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