MILAN Jim Rhegness, who has competed in the Food Network's Gingerbread Championship Challenge, shared his expertise with more than 50 children and parents at the Culinary Vegetable Institute on Dec. 1. Families from as far away as Columbus, and as close as Huron and Sandusky, attended the class.
The combination of many kids plus bowls of decorative candy and cups of frosting made the event boisterous at times, but once everyone got down to the serious business of creating a gingerbread house, the children were amazingly focused and imaginative. Some kids spelled out their names in candy on the side of their houses; some used square pretzels to make windows, or stick pretzels to create the illusion of a log cabin. Culinary students from Penta Career Center in Perrysburg, where Rhegness teaches, helped with those special extra touches, like upside down ice cream cones covered in green dots of icing or green-dyed shredded coconut to simulate pine trees. There were 15 adult volunteers to help any child who needed an extra hand with construction, or just finding that perfect piece of candy.
Proceeds benefited Veggie U, who also provided hot chocolate and snacks for the attendees. Veggie U is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the well being of children through teaching them about a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of sustainable agriculture.
For more information on Veggie U classes, and ways that you can support this educational program in your area, call Deborah Nickoloff at (419) 499-7500.