Walking up the Grand Concourse in view of Yankee Stadium it’s perhaps the last aroma you expect to inhale, but it’s in the air nightly these past months: gingerbread. That’s because Bronx-resident Chef Jon Lovitch is busy baking GingerBread Lane, an entirely edible 300+ square-foot village that will weigh more than 1.5 tons when complete: made from some 1750 pounds of icing, 500 pounds of gingerbread, and 400 pounds of candy.
It’s the piece de resistance of 20 years of related work.
And Lovitch is building it all, one to four pounds at a time, in a remarkably regular-sized galley kitchen, without assistance, when he’s not at his day job: Executive Chef – not pastry – at The New York Marriott at The Brooklyn Bridge.
“I force-feed myself Miracle on 34th Street,” says Lovitch, 37, who owns 50 Christmas-themed DVDs to help him get in, and stay in the spirit for nine months of pre-season labor, generally between midnight and 3a.m. Sometimes he dons a two-foot long Santa hat. “You think I flip a switch and make this happen?”