gingerbread

ICC Chef Instructor Creates Winning Gingerbread House On Netflix’s Sugar Rush!

For over two decades, Chef Toni Lynn Dickinson has been teaching the next generation of pastry chefs, chocolatiers, cake decorators, bakers and more at ICC to excel in their professions. Her pastry creations, both in and out of the kitchen are well-thought out, flawlessly executed and leave a lasting impression for years to come. Just take it from some of her former students—many shared in comments on our recent Instagram posts that she was “fun to learn from,” and a “fantastic teacher.”

In 2019, Chef Toni competed on Netflix’s hit show Sugar Rush Christmas where bakers compete against time, and each other, to win $10,000 and the ultimate bragging rights. Bakers compete in three different rounds: cupcakes, confections and cakes, each inspired by a different theme. As the clock ticks, the competition heats up!

In Chef Toni’s episode, she competed against 3 other teams with her teammate Diane Fehder. Diane, a graduate of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program and former student of Chef Toni’s, remarked that she was “originally approached to apply for the show and asked to find a partner.” Having previously competed on Sugar Dome—where she took home first place—she shared, “I think the producers sought me out because of my previous television experience.” In considering a partner for this competition, Diane knew that she wanted to ask Chef Toni because of her dedication, work ethic and over all time management—after all, Chef Toni was one of the instructors that taught Diane these skills in the first place!

“[Chef Toni] is one of the best chefs I’ve ever known. Anyone that attends ICC would know that,” Diane shared. “She is a walking culinary encyclopedia and is beyond generous with her knowledge. Behind the scenes while filming, she schooled all the other contestants (in a nurturing way) about the pastry arts, even the production staff.” It’s clear that Chef Toni’s passion for teaching cannot be contained, even under the pressure of a competition!

During each round of their Sugar Rush competition, Chef Toni and Chef Diane executed beautiful, delicious and ambitious creations that wowed the judges. In the first, they created not one, but three different cupcakes for the judges to taste—all with a fruitcake batter as the base, but with subtle flavor variations like chocolate, walnuts & cherry; pear, ginger & almond; and cranberry & pecan. For the second round, they created a cake doughnut with sweet potato mousseline and a rich caramel sauce. For their final round, Chef Toni and Diane blew the judges away with their gingerbread house and spiced cake with grand marnier, modeled after Santa’s workshop. Their gingerbread house featured many colorful decorations to discover, like elves with their tools and toys for the children.

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows Chef Toni and Chef Diane, not only did they WIN their episode of Sugar Rush, but they were the first team to ever win all THREE rounds on a Sugar Rush episode. In celebration of their win, Chef Toni held a demonstration at ICC with current and former students, guests, and friends in attendance. During the demonstration, she gave the audience an inside look at what it takes to create a competition-winning gingerbread house!

Check out the gingerbread house that Chef Toni and some of her students created during the demonstration below, and find some of her master gingerbread tips here.

gingerbread house

5 Tips To The Perfect Gingerbread House

This holiday season, don’t let your gingerbread house crumble under pressure! Fresh off of her win on Netflix’s Sugar Rush ChristmasICC Chef Instructor Toni Lynn Dickinson shared her tips to create the perfect gingerbread house.

Chef Toni’s gingerbread houses are famous around the kitchens of ICC and clients across New York City. She’s created displays for the Plaza Hotel, Times Square, and even for different ICC holiday displays. On the new season of Sugar Rush Christmas, the world finally got to see Chef Toni’s talent alongside her partner for the show, ICC alumna Diane Fehder, as they became the first team in Sugar Rush history to win all three challenges!

Below, check out Chef Toni’s tips to creating a beautiful gingerbread house that if stored properly can last for years to come!

Tip 1

step 1

Roll out the dough and let it rest for at least 1-2 hours in the refrigerator, before cutting. This will help to reduce the shrinkage of the dough.

Tip 2

step 2

Make a template of the house out of stiff paper or cardboard. This can be used to trace and cut the pieces before baking.

Tip 3

step 3

Use a dry brush to remove excess flour from the surface of the gingerbread dough prior to baking. If you bake the dough with the flour on it, the flour will stick and show on the dough.

Tip 4

step 4

Decorate all walls or vertical pieces while flat. Allow to dry thoroughly before assembling!

Tip 5

step 5

During assembly, use heavy cans to keep pieces at right angles, allowing support while pieces dry in place.

chef toni

Get Your Sugar Rush With ICC Chef Instructor Toni Lynn Dickinson

chef toniBefore Chef Toni Lynn Dickinson returned to her alma matter—the International Culinary Center—as Pastry Chef Instructor in 1997, she was working in some of NYC’s most exclusive kitchens like The River Café and Le Cirque. Her experience as Private Chef for the Italian Consulate in New York, and owning her own catering company—Amye J’s, had her creating and executing menus for clients from around the world. But, what many don’t know is that Chef Toni was dazzling audiences long before her career as a Pastry Chef. A graduate of Smith College with a BA in Theater-Dance and Afro-American Studies, she performed on international stages as a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater of New York. Chef Toni is no stranger to the world of show business—after all, there is a certain art to wowing clients with delicious dinners and beautiful desserts night after night.

Chef Toni’s partner for the competition, Diane Fehder, was previously Chef Toni’s student in ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program. She now owns Diane Michelle Cakes, a successful cake company in Southern New Jersey that specializes in creating edible art out of sugar! Previously, Diane competed in Sugar Dome as well and took home first place. Chef Toni and Diane were truly the perfect pair for this competition!

Want to see Chef Toni return to the spotlight? Check out the newest season of Sugar Rush Christmas streaming now on Netflix! Chef Toni and Diane went head to head against three other teams in different Christmas themed challenges and competed for $10,000 and the ultimate holiday bragging rights! We won’t give any spoilers away, but we will say, you won’t want to miss her episode. After you binge watch all of the new Sugar Rush Christmas episodes, be sure to attend Chef Toni’s Mastering The Art of Gingerbread Houses demonstration on Thursday, December 12th! She’ll be giving away her tips and tricks to creating the perfect holiday masterpiece.