Forget marble, plaster or granite. For Ohio University Executive Chef Matt Rapposelli, dough is the preferred material when it comes to constructing a statue.
At the World Pizza Championship in Salsomaggiore, Italy, earlier this month, Rapposelli, Petra Kralickova, director of exhibitions for the Ohio University School of Art galleries, and other team members from the United States faced off against competitors from across the globe and took home second place in the bread-sculpting category for their creation -- a 6-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Team members worked nonstop to get the sculpture ready for the competition -- about 30 hours in all, Rapposelli said.
"We're very happy," he said. "It was our first time there, and we were competing with groups from Sicily who have been doing these sculptures for centuries," he said.
Normally, such sculptures are constructed out of salt dough, Rapposelli said, but the American team chose to use a mixture of buckwheat and rye flours mixed with glucose. He said that particular formulation made the structure firm, and allowed the team to do the sculpture in panels.
John Gutekanst, the owner of Avalanche Pizza in Athens and a fellow team member, recruited Rapposelli for the team. Members elected to build the Statue of Liberty as a nod to fact that they were, in a literal sense, new arrivals to the contest, he said.
As far as he knows, the structure is still sitting in the stadium in Italy where the competition was held. The team did not break it down to ship it back to the country, like other teams did with their sculptures.
View the sculpture and read about the competition here (following this link will take you outside of the university Web site).