Biscuit Festival draws national attention

10:25 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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This weekend more than 20,000 biscuit lovers will descend on Downtown Knoxville.

The 4th annual International Biscuit Festival is recieving more than just East Tennessee media coverage. Organizer John Craig said the festival has made headlines around the country.

Craig said the rise in popularity is in part thanks to the comeback of Southern cuisine.

"We've got people from New York to California that want to talk about Southern food because it has an authentic quality to it that's appealing," said Craig.

"Southern food is really taking off. There's new restaurants popping up everywhere," said Tupelo Honey Cafe's executive chef, Brian Sonokus. The Southern theme is something his restaurant caught onto 13 years ago.

Tupelo Honey will feature a booth on this year's Biscuit Boulevard along with 19 other vendors. Tupelo Honey will begin making their 1,200 biscuits of a brand new recipe well before sunrise.

"We're making the Green Eyed Monster Tupelo Honey Buttermilk Biscuit. It has pimento cheese on the inside stuffed with fried jalapenos. It's going to be awesome," said Sonokus.

The festival has come a long way from where it started just four years ago.

"The first year we honestly didn't know if anybody was going to come," said Craig.

But Craig discovered fast that biscuits drew crowds.

"We sold every biscuit that we had, every ticket that we had," Craig said. "We couldn't have predicted that attendance would go from 5,000 the first year to 20,000 the second year."

Now that the interest is there, Craig says Knoxville has the opportunity to show the rest of the country what Southern cooking is all about.

"One year after the next has been better and better and better," said Craig.

Thursday the festival kicked off with the Southern Food Writers Conference where dozens of writers from around the country came to celebrate Southern cuisine.

The biscuit festival continues Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with the Biscuit Boulevard Tasting Area. Tickets are $10 and include five biscuits and a bottle of water.

This year they don't plan on running out of biscuits. There will be 25,000 biscuits for tasting.

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