Writing a 208-page cookbook while opening a new restaurant wasn’t exactly something that Biscuit Head owners Carolyn and Jason Roy had planned to do, but the husband-and-wife team not only finished writing “Biscuit Head: New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch,” they opened their third location of their popular Asheville-based chain in downtown Greenville’s South Ridge development within six months of each other.
Carolyn says, “The publisher asked us if we were interested while we were in the process of opening the Greenville store, which was crazy, but we saw it as a good opportunity.”
Published by Voyageur Press in Minneapolis, “Biscuit Head: New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch” is a collection of the couple’s favorite recipes, many of which have been served as specials in the three restaurants. The book also includes Biscuit Head’s now-famous Cathead biscuits and the jams, spreads, and gravies that top them off.
Feel like making these at home? It’s not that hard. Watch Ariel Turner (#yeahTHATfoodie) whip up a gluten free berry shortcake inspired by the Roys’ cookbook.
Carolyn says her favorite recipe in the entire book is the mac ’n’ cheese biscuit, which is a Cathead biscuit with mac ’n’ cheese folded into the dough. “It’s just so good,” she says.
Jason, despite many more complicated recipes in the book, says the figs soaked in a bourbon simple syrup tops his list. And when they’re served over buttermilk ice cream, that sends them over the edge.
One of the biggest challenges for the Roys was creating a cookbook that could be used by the cook with minimal kitchen experience. Like many seasoned chefs, Jason, the main recipe creator, doesn’t use exact measurements.
“I think there was a whole recipe what was a list of ‘a pinch of this,’” Carolyn jokes.
Carolyn, a former English major in college, was tasked with translating Jason’s non-specific recipes. An example of what she had to deal with: “Just cook it ’til it’s done,” Jason says. “Salt until it tastes right.” He’s mostly serious.
“It’s hard to write a book that will come out right in every kitchen,” he says. “Every kitchen is different.”
A main concept of the cookbook is to give cooks the tools to break free from rigid instructions.
“We want them to use their eyes, nose, and fingers to tell if it’s good,” Carolyn says.
For Jason, the cookbook is a way to teach readers how to use certain methods that may, at first, seem daunting.
“I wanted to teach people how to make barbecue. And the best way to make bacon — it’s possible to make it at home,” he says. “We wanted to make the book simple with the approaches nice and different.”
Speaking of barbecue, “Biscuit Head” includes a recipe for a smoked beef brisket. After being smoked for eight to 10 hours, the brisket is shredded and piled high on a Cathead biscuit.
Another dish that some kitchen newbies might shy away from is the duck confit hash. For some, slow cooking the duck in fat might seem complicated.
“It can seem overwhelming,” Carolyn says. Jason chimes in, “But it’s such a delicious thing to make.”
In the end, the Roys simply want home cooks to enjoy their time in the kitchen.
“It’s all about the fun and the joy,” Jason says. “You should be having a good time while cooking.”