Photo by Andrea Behrends

There are few things in life as delicious as a flaky, piping hot biscuit, slathered in butter. Ideally with a dollop of homemade jam. A few months ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with Southern baker extraordinaire – and Husk pastry chef – Lisa Donovan, whose melt-in-your-mouth, cast iron skillet biscuits are out of this world. I had to seriously restrain myself from eating the whole pan, as I wanted to save room for her tender yeast rolls and luscious coconut cake (also phenomenal, in case you were wondering). I'm a Southern girl, and grew up eating my fair share of homemade baked goods at family dinners, church suppers, and at my grandmother's house. But Lisa's creations, made with love and served with her contagious laughter, are quite simply the best.

[SPOILER ALERT: You can bake with Lisa this weekend in NYC!! There are just a few more spots left–sign up for her July 27th class here!]LisaDonovan

An avid student of Southern baking traditions, Lisa cites Edna Lewis as one of her baking heroes, and loves thumbing through "old blue ribbon cookbooks and church cookbooks" to find classic Southern desserts and breads. "Baking curbs a very deep need in me to create, and to make people happy," she explains. "Nothing makes people happier than simple concoctions of flour, butter, sugar and salt." After honing her baking skills at top Nashville restaurants City House and Margot Cafe, Lisa landed a job as pastry chef at the new Husk Nashville. These days, you can find her biscuits on the menu at Husk, flecked with parsley and accompanying Sean Brock's bone marrow dish, or at her regular pop-up Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers (where she does all the cooking as well!). When it comes to dessert, she thinks simple is best. "I adore simple ingredients, thoughtfulness, nostalgia, comfort and a little bit of prettiness," says Lisa. "You should feel nothing but comforted by dessert."


Beyond cooking and baking, Lisa's is a passionate culinary scholar and teacher. She'll be a presenter/baker at this year’s 16th Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium: Women, Work and Food, and will serve as a keynote speaker and resident culinary historian in conjunction with Alice Randall’s cultural studies program surrounding Food, Writing and Music at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

And most exciting of all, she's coming to NYC this weekend to teach an exclusive Southern baking class at City Grit on Saturday July 27! The class is from 2-5 pm and you'll learn the secrets of flaky biscuits and tender pie crusts, as well as how to make her beloved Husk Buttermilk Pie. There are just a few more spots remaining, so sign up now! (Tickets are $75 and you'll go home with all of the goodies you make.) Sunday night at 7 pm, Lisa will be back at City Grit for a special Buttermilk Road Sunday Supper, with a summery Farmer's Market menu. Grab a friend and sign up now: seats are going fast, and you don't want to miss this!


Where: City Grit, 38 Prince, between Mott and Mulberry

When: 2-5 pm Saturday July 27, 2013

Cost: $75 per person

Purchase tickets here.