la Barbecue Brings the Savory to Sprinkles Through Female Chef Series
The two Austin-based businesses partner to bake delicious scones and donate to LGBTQIA+ non-profit Allgo
By Lainey Gonzales
Photos courtesy of Sprinkles and la Barbecue
What happens when a renowned bakery chain collaborates with two of Austin’s most beloved barbecue pitmasters?
As a part of their ongoing Female Chef Series, Sprinkles has joined forces with LeAnn Mueller and Alison Clem of East Austin institution la Barbecue to create the bakery’s first ever savory concoction, a bacon and pepperjack cheese scone.
“When they first approached us, it was about a sweet concept and I was just like ‘We’re not a sweet restaurant. Nothing that we have in the restaurant is sweet,’” recalls Mueller, co-owner of la Barbecue.
In fact, when you visit the restaurant’s website, you’ll see verbatim, in giant heading, “Owner LeAnn Mueller hates the sweet stuff.”
Thankfully, this aversion to sugar did not intimidate the Sprinkles team. Instead, it pushed the partnership into an exciting territory that neither had ventured to before.
“It’s been a really amazing experience,” says Mueller. “It’s nice to think out of our comfort zone because we are not bakers. Well, not yet anyway.”
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” says Sprinkles CMO Michelle Wong. “Savory has been on our list, but it wasn’t until we met up with LeAnn and Alison that we could see what it could really be.”
This is one of the many reasons why the Sprinkles Female Chef Series was launched in the first place.
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“We wanted to partner with female chefs to bring their creative energy to the brand,” says Wong. “It’s been an incredible process because we all really share the same mission of spreading joy through food.”
Another important aspect of the Female Chef Series is giving back to the communities that matter deeply to the featured chefs. For Mueller and Clem, that’s the LGBTQIA+ community. During the limited edition run of savory scones, Sprinkles will be donating to the non-profit of la Barbecue’s choice, Allgo.
Allgo’s mission is to support queer people of color and enact change in Texas by providing arts, wellness and social justice programming. This partnership also happens to fall primarily in June, a welcome start to Pride Month.
“We always should be taking care of each other,” says Mueller. “Everybody should be looking out for each other and give love where it needs to be given.”
In true Austin fashion, la Barbecue began as a food truck back in 2012. The restaurant was created to continue the legacy of LeAnn’s late father, Bobby Mueller, who was the first person in Texas to win a James Beard Award for barbecue.
Four trailer locations later, la Barbecue finally opened their very own brick and mortar in May of 2021.
“Barbecue is a heavily male-dominated cuisine and I feel like we always get overlooked,” adds Mueller. “Being included in this series with such respected chefs is very much an honor for Ali and I.”
Though this union of smoked meats and fluffy pastries may seem out of left field, the two entities share a lot more in common than just their love for good food. Sprinkles is also based in Austin, thriving in the city’s inescapable spirit.
“There’s something about city pride and Austin has it,” says Wong. “You’re in it, you’re a part of it, this great community of people.”
Originally founded in Los Angeles, Sprinkles headed to Texas five years ago to continue building their bakery empire.
“We joke that we were here before everyone else was,” adds Wong. “We knew that Austin was next up.”
The scone itself is filled with pepper jack cheese, bacon, roasted tomatoes and scallions, offering deep flavor and different textures in every savory bite.
“It’s not based on focus groups or what’s viral on TikTok,” says Wong. “It’s based on LeAnn and Alison’s incredible story and cuisine, and everything tastes better when it comes from a meaningful place.”
The la Barbecue: Bacon & Pepperjack Scone is available at every Sprinkles location across the country through June 12. Visit Sprinkles.com to schedule an order.