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01 2022

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Eating Up Praise for the TS Gingerbread Village

Another holiday season, another huge win for the pastry department in creating the annual Turning Stone Resort Casino Gingerbread Village.

The 2021 project, which comprised 8 buildings, a hotel, a barn, bake shop, and train station with a moving train, received multiple national accolades, including a mention from Forbes as one of the 14 best holiday gingerbread displays in the country, and a detailed feature in Bake magazine, a baking industry trade.

According to Executive Pastry Chef Dennis Miller, all this attention was well-deserved.

Dennis helms the team tasked with making the village every year, and he noted that the 2021 effort was particularly unique since more than 40 employees from 20 different departments contributed to the 70-foot-long creation.

“We like to say it takes a village to build a village,” Dennis said. “That’s never been more of a truth than it was this past year.”

Preparations for the 2021 village began back in May, when Dennis ordered candies, fondant, and other supplies, and tasked specific employees to serve as captains for different parts of the spread. Working with Karen Ramirez, senior vice president of hospitality, to put together a volunteer program so the effort could pull together employees from outside the pastry department.

Employees from all over the Oneida Nation Enterprises stepped up to participate. Some had experience in kitchens or with baking. Others had never done anything like it before. Dennis said the only prerequisite was interest. In the end, the village turned out to be spectacular.

“It’s impossible not to marvel at what the team accomplished,” he said. “The barn had shredded wheat roof tiles. The church was incredible with the shingles. I mean, the train moved!”

Dennis said the teamwork behind the 2021 Gingerbread Village should be a lesson for all.

“This whole pandemic has tested all of us in ways we never expected,” he said. “To see employees come together for a greater good, to see people eager to donate their time to create something special for our guests—it’s a true inspiration that speaks volumes about the Oneida Indian Nation, the environment they create, and the messages we’re trying to put out there into the world.”

 

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