After my interview blog entry with ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, a couple friends reached out to me and suggested I should start conducting more interviews with local people or restaurant owners. I liked the suggestion and have been meaning to incorporate it into my blog covering all things Wichita (mostly restaurants of course) for some time.
I’ve placed the idea on the backburner for a couple months and finally have some people lined up for interview blogs. For my first interview, it’s a lady I’ve known for quite a while. Her husband was in my fraternity back in college many moons ago. She’s a fellow blogger and owns her own in-home bakery, Brown Sugar Bakery, which other co-workers and I have used before for work related events that needed some baked goodies. I can personally attest that her cookies are amazing.
Without further ado, I’d like to welcome Jeny Ayres of Brown Sugar Bakery as the first guest on our Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series.
Eddy: Jeny, welcome to the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series. Could you tell us a little something about yourself?
Jeny Ayres: I am momma to 5 amazing kiddos and the wife to my met the-first-day-of-college sweetheart. I stay at home with the kids and run an out of home bakery! I love being a mom, naps, and baking so it’s an all-around win for me.
Eddy: When did you start your ever so tasty, Brown Sugar Bakery?
Jeny Ayres: I launched the business in April of 2010, well I guess that is when I made it “Facebook official” 🙂
Eddy: Would you mind telling the readers how you got start on baking?
Jeny Ayres: I have always been a fan of baking for as long as I can remember the kitchen in general, but sweets are so fun! When we had our oldest’s first birthday party, I bought him a generic store cake and was highly disappointed. I decided I would never let someone else make any of my kids’ cakes again so I made it a goal to teach myself how to become a cake decorator per se. That’s what made me decide to learn more about decorating and technique and kind of propelled the business. It then evolved into an assortment of desserts but mostly, cakes, cupcakes, cakeballs and iced sugar cookies.
Eddy: Big fan here, I’ve had the cookies and cakeballs and they are nothing short of amazing. Of all the orders you get in from customers, whats your favorite thing to bake?
Jeny Ayres: My favorite thing to bake is still for my kids’ parties, I love being able to see their expressions when I show them their cakes and goodies. Any creation though is fun and that is my favorite part of baking, the reactions! Its so fun seeing kiddos’ eyes light up at something I made. It’s neat to see it start as flour and sugar and then transform into something else.
Eddy: How can customers get a hold of you?
Jeny Ayres: I have a Facebook page Brown Sugar Bakery with Jeny Ayres (https://www.facebook.com/brownsugarbakeryks), you can direct message me on there or call or text me at 316.371.7193
Eddy: So aside from baking, you are also a fellow blogger? Can you give us some insight on Wichita Moms Blog? I should note that it’s a fantastic blog for mothers out there or even anybody interested in things Wichita. I check it out occasionally to read up on events and places to take my nieces to! How did you get involved?
Jeny Ayres: Yes, we have a family blog that I started a long time ago to try and document our life. Its fun to look back and read about our journey. I also write for the Wichita Moms Blog (http://wichita.citymomsblog.com/), which is a local blog focused on getting families in Wichita out in our community and has resources for parents. The owner, Angela Green, reached out to me when she was looking for contributors and asked if I would consider it, and I did! I feel like Kansas and Wichita get a bad rap for being landlocked and flat, but there are so many amazing qualities about our city and state and I enjoy being a part of a group of women passionate about where we live.
Eddy: So aside from knowing you and your husband for some time. The interwebs would be interested to know your family are Wichita State basketball season ticket holders. In a “it’s a small world” scenario, their tickets are literally in the row in front of mine at Charles Koch Arena. So it’s cool to always see Jeny, her husband and their kids rooting on the best team in the state. So Jeny, I have to ask, who’s your favorite current Shocker Basketball player?
Jeny Ayres: Fred VanVleet! It’s been an honor watching a humble kid grow not only individually but the program as a whole. I also like JR Simon, he doesn’t get much playing time but I like behind the scene type of people too. They still put in the work give it their all despite not always being in the limelight. We LOVE all the shockers though!
Eddy: Since this is first and foremost a restaurant food blog, I’m going to ask everybody. Top Three Favorite Restaurants in Wichita……….GO!
Jeny Ayres: Top Three : Breakfast: Ledesma’s Restaurant. (hole in the wall place on north Broadway but has THE BEST pancakes. Margie, the waitress there, is the ONLY waitress there and has been there since I was in grade school 20 years ago. A lot of loyal customers go in there.)
Lunch: Sweet Basil (reviewed here)l! Oh my stars I am so glad they are finally reopened. The cheese manicotti is amazing…. As well as all of the lunch buffet! My husband despises buffets but he will take me here anytime I ask 🙂
Dinner: Red Rock, I usually start with the spinach artichoke dip, then have the tortilla soup and cornbread…. Then I usually nibble off of Cody’s Cluck-n-oink. And of course have their “perfect margarita”.
Eddy: Any additional comments you wish to add?
Jeny Ayres: I have an assortment of Gluten free goodies which taste pretty amazing and I created in honor my oldest who is allergic to wheat. I offer them in smaller quantities too because I know sometimes you just need to accommodate a few GF (gluten free) guests and do not necessarily need a dozen GF cookies.
I am getting ready to launch a “do good” part of the bakery, where we focus on military spouses that are here on the home front while their serviceman/woman is deployed. It will provide a birthday treat (cake, cupcakes, cakepops) for the spouse here in Wichita. As a mom, I know how blessed we are to be able to have Cody (husband) spoil me on my birthday, and I want to pass that on to someone who is holding down the fort at home as a thank you for their family’s sacrifice. There will be a nomination process and every month, a birthday “treat” will be donated to the recipient. There will also be a way to donate to the cause and send a treat on behalf of someone.
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