11th Annual Steps to Success is coming to the
Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center on October 5!
The Women’s Business Network is proud to present our keynote speaker, Lesley Riley.
An IT Project Manager by day, former National Security Background Investigator by night and Gourmet Biscuit Maker in between (aka “The Biscuit darling”)! As America’s first gourmet biscuit company she is happy to bring a “Northern flair to a Southern classic” and share her unique sweet, savory and gluten- gourmet biscuit line. As a pioneer, she is leading the newest trend in clean gourmet baked goods.
When you meet Lesley Riley, the first thing you notice is a warm smile that makes you feel like you are already her best friend. One taste of her gourmet biscuits and you are transported back to a time when southern women made every meal from scratch and the food on your plate was meant to nourish your soul as much as it was to calm your hunger. It is quite fitting that her signature line on her Mama Biscuit’s Gourmet Biscuits is “always made with love.” Riley’s calm demeanor and delicious gourmet biscuits made with love should not fool you into believing she just swooped into the kitchen one morning and churned out a successful product. She is one of the hardest working entrepreneurs in the food industry and her journey has taken her from her native Pennsylvania to Fayetteville, North Carolina and now to the D.C. area, which serves as the headquarters for Mama Biscuit’s Gourmet Biscuits.
As a successful restaurant owner for many years, Riley earned the nickname “Ma Biscuit.” The nickname stuck, but she had not yet truly mastered the perfect biscuit. After a bit of encouragement from her family and friends to start living up to her nickname, she dusted off her grandmother’s cookbook and set out to make the perfect biscuit in the summer of 2014. During this same time period, she launched a blog and social media pages under the moniker “Mama Biscuit” and somehow still found time for a multi-round audition for the TV show Master Chef. As fate would have it, she did not make it to the final round of auditions for the show, but the support she received from her inner circle and social media followers only strengthened her resolve to get back into the kitchen and keep working on that perfect biscuit.
Eventually, Riley mastered that perfect buttermilk biscuit. Not content with a simple, round buttermilk biscuit, she added her own flair by making the biscuits heart-shaped with gourmet heart-shaped butter pats. This planted the seed to begin creating original recipes for gourmet flavored biscuits. The first Mama Biscuit’s Gourmet Biscuit was created on October 15, 2014. Less than 10 days later, a local grocer was interested in selling the biscuits.
Today, Mama Biscuit’s Gourmet Biscuits is a thriving e-commerce business and Riley’s signature gourmet biscuits are available at select retailers like Wegmans stores in the D.C., Virginia, and Maryland markets, as well as local restaurants and wineries. There are over 50 different flavor combinations of gourmet biscuits in sweet and savory flavors. The biscuits are unlike anything that have ever passed your lips. The sweet ones taste like a decadent desert and the savory ones are reminiscent of Sunday dinner at your grandmother’s.
Each biscuit is always made with love from only natural ingredients and can be made gluten-free. Although the past two years have been a whirlwind of baking, marketing, networking, and promoting for Riley, she has maintained her down to Earth spirit and that warm smile; ensuring that no matter how much her company grows, her products are truly a labor of love will never stop being made with love.
Ms. Riley holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Methodist University (formerly college), Fayetteville, NC. and a graduate degree in Law and Public Policy from California University of Pennsylvania. She enjoys spending time with her loving family and grandson when not baking biscuits.