Eight of Houston's best pastry chefs (and one promising teenager) gathered to support a good cause at the Eighth Annual Gingerbread Doghouse Competition. Organized by Pour Society's Kelsey Hawkins, the event raised $2,100 for Lucky Dog Rescue, a foster-based organization dedicated to providing rescue services, veterinary care and adoptive placement to stray and abandoned dogs.
Entries included Holley's chef Johnny Wesley's seafood-style doghouse, Hubbell & Hudson's Nguyet Nguyen's contemporary house with lit fireplace and Main Kitchen's Sharon Gofreed's Christmas-themed homage to Snoopy and Woodstock. Still, three stood out as the best in the opinions of the judges: Cookbook author and interior designer Erin Hicks, My Table magazine associate publisher Taylor Byrne-Dodge and Houston Press food writer Phaedra Cook.
The Durham House's Don Schoenburg took third place with his elaborately decorated winter scene that included a bacon ribbon over the door. Host chef Hawkins earned second with a carefully constructed scene from Lady and the Tramp.
Recently-hired KUU pastry chef Karla Espinosa earned first place for her Japanese-inspired dog dojo. Cook tells CultureMap that Espinosa's use of Japanese ingredients like mochi balls, sweet sesame sticks and green tea Pocky helped elevate her to the top spot.
"The thing that really touched my heart the minute it I saw it, though, was the gingerbread dog bone in front that read 'I was rescued,'" Cook writes in a text. "That, really, is the heart of the matter. There are so many dogs in Houston shelters that really need the gift of a permanent home, and that's what makes Lucky Dog such an important rescue organization."