Industry Update
Editorial Article19 December 2005

The Historic Westin St. Francis in San Francisco Proudly Presents ''The Sugar Castle''; Created by Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdre; On Display Now Through December 31st

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Westin Hotels & Resorts

FRANCISCO | Keeping up with an historic Westin St. Francis tradition, Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Francois Houdre has been inspired to re-create a life-sized gingerbread sugar castle this holiday season -- which will surely dazzle children and adults alike!


The inspiration to do a one-of-a-kind grandiose gingerbread castle came from recent family trip to Europe. The Houdre family had the incredible opportunity to visit many remarkable chateaux's. Particularly, Mont Saint Michel and la cite de Carcassonne, which is one of Europe's most complete examples of a fortified abbey.

As the Houdre family toured these spectacular and grandiose castles, son, Henri (7), and daughter, Claudia (5) were able to discover an earlier time when royalty once occupied these magnificent castles over centuries ago. From that experience, the children were able to convince their father that a spectacular gingerbread castle should be built at the St. Francis this holiday season.

Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdre of The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco has spent the last six months building his 8-foot masterpiece Gingerbread Castle for all to enjoy. The entirely edible castle is on display for the holidays in the Westin St. Francis San Francisco's Tower Lobby through December 31.

Besides his regular duties as Executive Pastry Chef of the St. Francis, Jean-Francois has spent the last six months building his 8-foot masterpiece with great detail and precision.

The castle is entirely edible, and comprised of the following

sumptuous ingredients:
  • 70 pounds of gingerbread
  • 130 pounds of pastillage (Powdered sugar, egg whites and gelatin dough)
  • 40 pounds of pulled and bubble sugar
  • Royal icing made of 300 pounds of sugar and egg whites
  • 40 pounds of molasses
  • 60 pounds of flour
  • 100 pounds of assorted Christmas Candy
  • And 360 hours of hard work!

The gingerbread castle at the historic Westin St. Francis has been admired by thousands of local holiday shoppers and holiday visitors from around the world.

Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 750 properties in more than 80 countries and 120,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood(R) Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), Sheraton(R), Westin(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, W(R), and the recently announced Aloft. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit .

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Gena Egelston
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