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Chefs Get Creative For Gingerbread Competition

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If you're taking a holiday tour around Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral, you can find an interesting indoor display nearby as well, as some pastry chefs are getting creative for a good cause. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

At Le Parker Meridian Hotel on West 56th Street, sometimes the best way to deal with adversity is to sugar coat it. The hotel is holding its annual gingerbread house competition to raise money for City Harvest. And while the theme this year was landmarks around the world, the hotel's own submission kept it close to home with Hurri-crane or CandyCrane.

"Unfortunately, because of Hurricane Sandy, right directly across the hotel, was the dangling crane, so kind of our little landmark there is this crane," says Marisa Zafran of Le Parker Meridian Hotel. "And really, there were tourists that were standing there taking pictures of it, and so, while we were evacuated and closed for a week, the crane stood there dangling. So as you can see here, we’ve got little tourists, we’ve got police barricades, fire trucks, really sort of a homage to it. I think this holiday season, helping feed New Yorkers especially through what happened with, you know, the hurricane, is more important."

Some of the other gingerbread monuments include the Great Sphinx in Egypt, Mexico's Chichen Itza and Washington DC's Lincoln Memorial, bundled up for winter by Baked Ideas.

"I just love the detail of the face, and the way she did the fondant on this is just amazing," Zafran says.

With a $1 donation, admirers can cast their vote for the best monument. Money raised benefits City Harvest.

"It’s a bit comical, the holiday spirit," said one person viewing the contest entries. "It puts a smile on your face."

"I’m a huge Christmas person," said another. "Anything festive like this gets you into the spirit, so I’m trying to decide which one I like the best."

The gingerbread structures, of course, are 100 percent edible, but unfortunately, we can’t eat them. Still, not to worry: you can come to the Espresso bar and have some gingerbread spiced hot chocolate and a gingerbread snap. That’s also a fundraiser for city Harvest.

The display is up through January 3. Over the past few years, the event has raised about $40,000 for those in need.

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