Chef Claus Olsen – Executive Chef Pastry explains his inspiration in creating Gingerbread House
This holiday season, Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok’s Executive Pastry Chef Claus Olsen delights guests with a giant Gingerbread House, which is expected to bring back childhood memories and Christmas tales.
“Once upon a time…” That’s the way all tales about the fabled Gingerbread House story should begin. Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok’s giant Gingerbread House likewise follows in the same way; however, this house is tangible unlike a fairy tale house.
Many people may dream of a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year from either their imagination or the fun-filled novels they have read before. These fond memories sometimes live inside their hearts forever.
Chef Claus loves Christmas and all the fun traditions it brings, especially in creating and decorating a Gingerbread House. In fact, his giant Gingerbread House is partly inspired by a childhood novel, Hansel and Gretel, who were abandoned in the forest and finally came upon a chocolate cottage made of icing, nougat, candy and biscuit in the middle of a glade, and by the magic of Christmas that fills everyone’s heart.
Located in the hotel lobby in front of The Chocolate Boutique, this giant baked house is where Chef Claus makes all the magic happen.
Believing firmly in the concept that pastry should be nice and simple, Chef Claus and his young and young-at-heart protégés gathered all the ingredients needed to make this delicious and fragrant house.
Chef Claus spent several weeks planning and co-operating with helping hands from various departments, including engineering, housekeeping, security and his bakery team, to build the house. Construction of the Gingerbread House commenced on 26 November 2017, involving 30 colleagues. The house will take 50 hours to complete, and is expected to be finished by 30 November 2017.
The giant Gingerbread House weighs around 800 kilogrammes, including the wooden structure. The baking mixture includes almost 600 kilogrammes of butter, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, icing sugar and spices, 962 egg yolks and nearly 90 litres of egg white, lemon juice and molasses.
“The building of the Gingerbread House stands as a tradition in various aspects, as I have worked at many hotels around the world. Some look like Tybee Island in Georgia, The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan and the Sea Island Resort in Georgia. The building of this first giant Gingerbread House follows the Christmas spirit to wow the people’s senses and bring happiness throughout the festive season. There are few hotels that build Gingerbread Houses, but I hope we continue doing it next year and would probably incorporate more activities to make the project more interesting,” said Chef Claus.
The giant Gingerbread House is home for festive hampers and goodies wrapped in beautiful packages, which will be on sale from 1 December 2017 to 5 January 2018.
Guests can add sparkle and the festive spirit of the “candy-sweet Christmas” giving to their family, friends and clients with selected home-made festive delights ranging from Mixed Christmas Cookies, Chocolate Santa Claus, Stollen and Panettone to English Fruit Cake and a Baby Christmas Cupcake Set. Prices range from Bt99 net to Bt1,199 net.
For the ultimate bespoke gift, Chef Claus has prepared two hamper options to give a lasting impression on family and friends. The Christmas Hamper Box featuring traditional festive treats, such as Panettone, English Fruit Cake, Strawberry Yogurt Pearls, Gingerbread and Chocolate Frost Cake, Mixed Christmas Cookies and Short Bread Collection is priced at Bt4,799 net. The Christmas Hamper Bag is priced at Bt2,799 net and includes Stollen, Mixed Christmas Cookies, White Chocolate Caviar and a bag of Brunsli.
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