In a true underdog story, five Yellowknife women faced off against teams of corporate engineers in a gingerbread building competition – and won.
Through their victory in the Feats of Gingerbread challenge, The Northern Gingerbread(wo)men raised $10,402 for Food Rescue Yellowknife.
When voting closed on Monday, the team had 717 votes, pulling ahead of Montréal-based SBSA Structural Consultants, who finished with 699 votes.
By day, the team is made up of two engineers, a biologist, a lawyer, and a teacher – but at night, Jennie Rausch, Alex Giroux, Delia Chesworth, Kelly McLaughlin, and Amy Wilkinson become bakers and builders.
Rausch said the women realized they were the odd ones out in the challenge after they raised the initial $500 and became eligible for voting, at which point they noticed the eight other teams were all corporations.
In total, the Yellowknife team raised $5,201 on their own. Once they won, that sum was matched by challenge hosts Engineers Canada.
“We definitely wanted something northern and a feat of gingerbread – a feat of engineering,” Rausch said, describing how different members baked different elements before the display came together in a "five-hour blaze of glory of gingerbread creation."
Christmas touches included a Santa hat on a polar bear and Christmas lights strung on a moose’s antlers.
Every part of the gingerbread scene is edible but, after sitting in a store window in Centre Square Mall for the past few weeks, the sled dogs may be a little stale.
At the time of baking, Rausch said the special structural gingerbread recipe was "shockingly good."
Rausch said Food Rescue Yellowknife, which diverts food destined to be wasted to lunch programs, senior facilities, and homeless and transient populations, was chosen because "they’re always doing this work and people don’t realize it’s happening."
“I think they are Yellowknife’s Secret Santa," she said.
The team's gingerbread scene will be on display until Christmas at the mall, but the team is looking for a new home for it.
If someone makes a donation to Food Rescue, said Rausch, she can drop off the display at their house for them to eat, admire – or even smash.