The Biskiesᵀᴹ Grand-Prize Winner Interview: Veneé from Black Magnolia

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“Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner” announcement under a black “The BiskiesTM Winners” banner in gold font. Image of a biscuit on a white plate topped with a scoop of ice cream drizzled in pecan praline.

When a Craving Becomes Your Calling: Meet The Biskies Grand-Prize Winner

It all started with a pregnancy craving for some warm, gooey cinnamon rolls.

Veneé Pawlowski is the owner and lead baker of Black Magnolia Patisserie in Greensboro, North Carolina. She’s also cinnamon rolls’ biggest fan, and the Grand Prize winner of the 2023 Biskies™ Awards hosted by General Mills Foodservice.

Her recipe, the mouth-watering Upside-Down Apple Praline Biscuit, won her a $20,000 cash prize, and the adoring fans that came in and sold her out of the dessert in record-time.

“It was kind of just on a whim, someone suggested I enter, and I think I entered on the last day of the competition.”

Veneé quickly started working to gather the key ingredient: Pillsburyᵀᴹ Frozen Biscuit Dough Southern Style.

“The bed and breakfast that I partner with, they use your biscuits, so I was like, ‘Okay chef, can I get some of those?’ And they're wonderful! I'm very, you know, made from scratch. But they're really tasty, and they're really wonderful. So, we kind of threw that recipe together, and here we are. I did not expect it, it's been a whirlwind.”

Group three adults gather around large black check made out to Black Magnolia for $20,000.

Since the beginning, Veneé seems to be the lucky chef behind a business that is, in large part, taking off right before her eyes. Since she started selling homemade cinnamon rolls out of her third story walk up apartment, locals have been following her story and consuming her baked goods with ravenous loyalty.

One thing led to another, and pretty soon her cottage bakery was doing wholesale business with bed and breakfasts and other local businesses. From there, Veneé was able to open her first storefront.

Veneé attributes much of her success to her loyal (vocal) customers.

Chocolate chess pie and apple scone pastry signs displayed along with platters of biscuits, croissants, scones, and a chocolate cake covered in powder sugar.

“Pay attention to what’s trending, and your customer base,” she says. “I ask my customers honestly what they want. Know your customers, and what they want.”

The French-inspired southern patisserie pulls its inspiration from delicate French pastries, merged with the wholesome, filling goodness of southern cooking.

Black Magnolia’s loyal following is well-deserved. Their brick-and-mortar location is famous for serving up a menu of mouth-watering specialty cinnamon rolls and biscuit-based breakfast sandwiches.

Veneé prides herself on from-scratch cooking but admits that The Biskies Awards in particular gave her a run for her money on this approach.

“I’m a from-scratch baker of course, but I had already been eating these biscuits, and I knew they were a great product to use. Having one less thing to worry about producing has been awesome.”

Veneé has had the good fortune (read: byproducts of hard work and fabulous making) of being a food-based business that thrived during the past three years. But all of that success has been a lot for a new mom to juggle, and with her second child on the way, Veneé has beautiful plans for what she wants to do with The Biskies Awards prize money.

“I’m going to reinvest it back into the business, maybe get an actual bread mixer, and take two weeks off with my new baby.”

You can learn more about the Black Magnolia on their website. Follow them on Instagram at your own risk — you may just be tempted to travel cross-country for one of Veneé’s famous cinnamon rolls.