Jon Lovitch has become a real-life gingerbread man, known for constructing record-setting villages filled with hundreds of sweet-filled structures.
Lovitch, 39, builds gingerbread houses year round and makes as much as $31,000 for one of his edible creations. A former restaurant chef, Lovitch launched a new career by selling his massive gingerbread villages to hotels, casinos and museums around the country.
"I’m probably the only guy on this planet getting paid to make gingerbread villages," said Lovitch.
This December, Lovitch broke his three previous Guinness World Records by constructing a fourth village that includes nearly 1,200 gingerbread houses. The village is currently on display at the New York Hall of Science.
The display contains nearly 5,000 pounds of icing, candies and gingerbread.
The houses in his villages have names, many of which are inspired by family and friends. This year, he dedicated numerous houses to his new fiancée.
Using a humidifier to preserve his gingerbread year-round, Lovitch began the construction process nearly 12 months ago in a small room at his home in Queens, NY. He worked 10-12 hours a day, often until 4 a.m., on baking, constructing, and designing the villages while his fiancée slept.
Lovitch has been creating his elaborate gingerbread villages for more than 20 years. He competed in his first gingerbread competition in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1994. He was motivated to keep improving and build even larger villages after he lost.
But he's also inspired by making a positive contribution.
"In the world that we live in where there’s so much negativity and bad stuff going on," he said, "to be able every year to create something that three-quarters of a million people see in person, that’s awesome."