Young baker wins Christmas with this spectacular gingerbread York Minster

Good enough to eat – Stephen's model Minster. Photographs: Channel 4

It’s York Minster like you’ve never seen it before.

This remarkable gingerbread model by a city baker saw him win over millions of viewers and take home the trophy on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas.

Stephen Harrison, 26, who runs The Free From Baker, took part in the gingerbread competition on the Channel 4 show which was screened this week.

Stephen and his spectacular creation. Photograph: The Free From Baker on Instagram
With presenter Kirstie Allsop on the show
He told presenter Kirstie Allsopp that he first made a gingerbread model Minster with some friends last year – but it was half the size of the one he was making for the show.

Stephen was contacted by the producers of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas in October after they had seen his creations on Instagram.

He knew that the gingbread Minster would be his entry – even though it was very ambitious:

  • It’s Christmas and it’s a competition. Go hard or go home! Make it as big and as spectacular as possible is my aim.

An insane experience

Judge Celia Stroud admires the finished work
The scale model was incredibly detailed. Stephen used 80 boiled sweets to make the stained glass windows, and the finished structure was 80cm long and more than a foot high.

Judge Cynthia Stroud was impressed. She said:

  • You have to be pretty gutsy to attempt York Minster – and it looks like it!

    And I can tell you for free that making a building with lots and lots of cut-outs like this has is not easy because the more holes you have in your gingerbread biscuit, the easier it is for it to snap.

    Architecturally it is a very impressive building. To even inset the doors as well – that takes some skill.

Winner – Stephen
The detail is impressive

Declaring him the winner she said the Minster model was ‘head and shoulders’ above the competition.

Stephen was diagnosed coeliac at the age of 7, and all his cakes are gluten free.

He thanked everyone for their kind messages following his win on Facebook, adding:

  • What an insane experience! Winner of the gingerbread episode with my York Minster!

    Definitely the best thing I’ve ever baked and the icing on the cake of an amazing year.

You can still watch the show on All 4 here.

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