A community biscuit-making class was held in the soon-to-open brunch restaurant Ruby Sunshine Friday morning, complete with mimosas, chocolate candy bacon and gift bags.
Guests from the Knoxville community were invited to learn how to make the signature pastries, with direction from Ruby Sunshine culinary director Monica Larousse.
Part of ongoing community outreach, Larousse said the experience was more than just for fun.
“Our biscuits are huge and delicious, and so we like to get people involved with making it - it's very therapeutic, it's exciting and it really helps people understand what we do here, because we are a from-scratch kitchen, so everything we make is home-made,” Larousse said. “And so you can experience that by touching it, feeling it, smelling it, tasting it. So that's what the biscuit class is all about.”
Guests were provided refreshments in the form of Ruby Sunshine's signature ruby mimosas, made with orange and pomegranate juice to give a twist on a brunch classic. Bacon garnished in chocolate ganache was also provided as a light snack, with the chocolate sourced from the Knoxville Chocolate company, just a few doors away.
Aprons were provided at each station in addition to a large bowl, rolling pins, graters and biscuit molds. Under Larousse's guidance, guests made biscuits by hand from start to finish, from mixing the dough and rolling it out, to cutting out the biscuits individually. By the end, each guest had created more than a dozen biscuits each.
While the biscuits baked, guests had the opportunity to speak with Ruby Slipper Cafe founder Jennifer Weishaupt, who told the story of how the concept of the all-day brunch restaurant came to be.
Borne out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Weishaupt took notice that there was no place for many people to eat. Weishaupt brought together the concepts of neighborhood with New Orleans-style cuisine to create the original Ruby Slipper Cafe, from which Ruby Sunshine branches from.
Afterward, guests were served the biscuits they had made along with samplings of Ruby Sunshine's spreads: a sweet cane butter, a banana fosters jam and a strawberry-mimosa jam. Boxes and containers helped participants bring their creations home, and each was provided a small bag of parting gifts as well.
Lifestyle blogger and UT alumna Azlinn Edwards shared her thoughts on the event.
“I've never actually sat down and tried to learn the whole process,” Edwards said. “It was so easy and they were so good, and I know that (my husband and I) will be back to be here for brunch...I think Knoxville will really welcome it in.”
Looking to uphold a tradition of giving back to the community, the restaurant plans to hold biscuit-making classes in the future.
“At the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group, we are huge into giving back to the community we come into.” Larousse said.
“We do our best to get out into the community to give away, to share, and then to also give away those biscuit classes and those experiences where they get to touch and feel and taste and smell and experience what we do here.”
Ruby Sunshine will have a soft opening Monday, May 20, with a grand opening to follow a few weeks afterward.