Asheville Baker Wins Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship with Gorgeous Gingerbread Scene
Asheville baker Linda Carney is used to accomplishing amazing feats with gingerbread. Using a bit of flour—plus a dash of sugar, spice, and everything nice—the gingerbread artist has created some true masterpieces over the years. Since constructing her first gingerbread house in 2008, she's placed multiple times in the National Gingerbread House Competition presented by the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville.
This year, she took on one of her biggest challenges to date by competing in Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown. And it's no surprise that the talented Southern baker won!
The reality baking contest, hosted by Jesse Palmer, features three teams of two expert gingerbread artists and bakers competing for a $10,000 prize by creating beautiful—and delicious—edible works of art. In addition to their gingerbread design, each team also had to bake a dessert using coconut and incorporate it into their display. At the end of a 10-hour baking and constructing marathon, judges Nacho Aguirre, Kardea Brown, and Breegan Jane selected their favorite gingerbread masterpiece based on design, execution, and overall creativity.
Carney, and her baking assistant Cheryl Filion of Medina, Ohio, took home the win for their snow globe scene depicting favorite holiday memories. Their creation included a gazebo, rocking horse, people ice skating and sledding, and intricate details like cherry amaretto shortbread trees topped with coconut for snow (the team's dessert submission).
WATCH: How To Host A Gingerbread House Party
"The whole theme to our piece was to recreate a Christmas memory," Carney told the Citizen Times. "Cheryl and I both grew up in small towns, both grew up admiring gazebos and skating on the local lake across from the school. So, we incorporated a lot of those things into our overall piece."
The nostalgic show-stopper was a hit with the judges who agreed it told the most cohesive and compelling story of all three designs.
Carney made her first appearance on Food Network in 2017 as one of the subjects in a documentary-style series called Gingerbread Giants that chronicled entrants in the National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn.