Deborah Kushlan, executive chef at the DeSoto Palms Assisted Living Community, is known by residents as the “sugar engineer.” Last year, she built a gingerbread replica of the DeSoto Palms building that was 12 feet long by 3 feet tall. This year, she created an 8-foot-tall walk-in gingerbread wonderland. Asked how she became adept at building such creations, Kushlan said she spent 10 years in the construction industry when living in Cleveland. After that, she transitioned into catering and built 10-foot-tall wedding cakes to cut the cost of purchasing them for clients. She’s been with DeSoto Palms since February 2010.
By the numbers
1,200 — number of fondant shingles for the roof, candies, royal icing flowers, candy wreaths and Christmas trees
450 — number of gingerbread bricks
175 — pounds of gingerbread
45 — pounds of fondant
40 — gallons of “snow”
8 — number of feet in height