Gingerbread Houses Raise $90,000 in Cary

Story by Lindsey Chester, photos by Brooke Meyer.

Cary, NC- The Umstead Hotel and Spa hosted the 9th annual Gingerbread House benefit to raise funds for Triangle Family Services last Thursday.

Triangle Family Servies has been helping needy families in the area for more than 75 years. The Gingerbread Benefit is the organization’s premier fundraising event.

Top local chefs created exquisite, themed gingerbread houses that were displayed in the ball room of the Umstead Hotel. The gingerbread houses, along with other items, were auctioned off during the evening’s festivities. In addition, a silent auction showcased a variety of items from local businesses, including jewelry, vacation packages and sports memorabilia.

Guests enjoyed holiday music, wine and beer, desserts and savory delicacies prepared by the Umstead’s top chefs. All proceeds benefit the program services of Triangle Family Services, which deal with issues of financial stability, family safety and mental health services in the community.

The event raised $90,039 and over 300 people were in attendance. In conjunction with the auction, the Umstead held a special Children’s Tea with Santa. Kids met with the bearded guy and  created confections of their own design.

The chefs create these works of food art, in a friendly competition, but there are no losers. Everything helps to raise the needed funds. This year there were 23 entries from chefs and restaurants all over the Triangle.

Participating chefs/restaurants:

  • Chef Todd Richter, Prestonwood Country Club
  • Amanda Burgess, Sweet Escape Bakery
  • Sera Cuni, Foster’s Market (Chapel Hill)
  • Richard Smith, Twisted Fork
  • Jill Leckey, The Fearrington House Restaurant
  • Angela Salmanca, Dos Taquitos
  • Jason Smith, 18 Seaboard
  • Ilya Koltusky, Sweet Loralee Pastries
  • Kim Reynolds, Second Empire
  • Lorie Murray, Simply Cakes
  • Coleen Speaks, Posh Nosh Catering
  • Daniel Benjamin, The Umstead Hotel & Spa
  • Troy Knight, Wii Little Chefs
  • Sherry Stolfo and Eddie Wilson, The Chef’s Academy
  • Patrick Colley, Carolina Country Club
  • Mariea Gregory, Meghan Gregory, Kelly Snyder and Davita Norris, Upper Crust Bakery
  • Karen Gray, Wake Tech
  • Rachel Smith, JoAnn Rey and Sue Chaploney, Wake Tech
  • Bonnie Lau, Miel Bon Bons Patisserie
  • Stephen James, Stick Boy Bread Company
  • Donna Ford, Sweet Memories

For 75 years, Triangle Family Services has been battling critical issues in our community for the most vulnerable families. Its mission, “Building a stronger community by strengthening the family,” is fulfilled by providing programs in three key areas: financial stability, family safety and mental health services. Last year alone, Triangle Family Services served more than 75,000 Triangle area residents with 93 percent living below the poverty level.