Baking meets light construction this week as Food Network and HGTV team up to present a unique holiday special.
“All-Star Gingerbread Build,” airing Saturday, Nov. 28 on both networks, pairs pastry chefs Duff Goldman (“Ace of Cakes”) and Ron Ben-Israel (“Sweet Genius”) with “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott in a one-off competition to see which tandem can create the best life-size gingerbread house.
“I don’t know if it’s the first time the networks cooperated,” says Ben-Israel, who was partnered with Jonathan Scott, “but it’s definitely not a regular occurrence, and it was a chance to get together and enjoy it and learn and be challenged.”
In the hourlong special, plans are drawn up and then wooden skeletons are built. To these are attached bricks made of gingerbread for the exterior walls and tiles made from the pastry for the roof shingles. A mortar made from royal icing bonds everything together and then a studio audience judges the final products.
A good time, according to Ben-Israel, was had by all.
“Duff and I are friends,” he tells Zap2it, “but we live on different coasts and we don’t always have a chance to get together. … You know, we always said we wanted to work together more, so even though we were competing against each other, we actually had a good time. You know, how can you not be happy when you do gingerbread houses for the holidays?”
And learn something new in the process, as the bakers picked up carpentry tips and the Scotts got to use baking implements in construction.
“There were no losers,” Ben-Israel says. “Everybody did well. I mean, this was for charity, so it wasn’t really about Duff and me and the twins competing against each other. It’s let’s have fun and put it all together for the community’s joy. It wasn’t about ego.”