JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Southerners love their biscuits; they're almost in their own food group.
Now an employee at a Johnson City Bojangles is in the running to become their master biscuit champion -- the best biscuit maker in the entire company.
From Bojangles' corporate headquarters on down the line, everybody knows it all starts with the biscuit, and company-wide one of the top seven biscuit makers is Thomas Howard.
He applies his skills at the Bojangles just off the East Tennessee State campus. He won the biscuit-making competition in this restaurant, throughout the franchise, and in the state of Tennessee, and now it's on to the national finals. "You have to follow the procedures, recipe pretty much to the 'T' and you'll have a consistent biscuit every time," Thomas said.
But for the competition everything has to be almost perfect from rolling the dough, to placement on the baking tray, to the final product. "Our biscuits have a life expectancy of 20 minutes. From the time they come out of the oven to the time they go into somebody's hand being eaten. They're 20 minutes or less," Franchise consultant Bob Burgoyne says.
And there's a biscuit with almost everything served, so that means more biscuits, plus all of the other chores that Thomas has as far as baking.
All of the uproar about the competition has made him a bit famous. "Customers are wanting to meet Thomas now and they want to give him tips, they want to hug his neck and they want to see who made their biscuits. It's wonderful for business," store manager Karen Smith said.
And he says it's wonderful for being recognized for just doing your job and doing it exceptionally. "I enjoy doing it, I enjoy making biscuits everyday. It's just fun to me. It makes it even easier," Thomas says.
And a man who can make fine biscuits can go a long way, especially in South.
The competition will be held November 13 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thomas could win as master biscuit maker a cash prize of $2,500.