Doughnut Craze

Just a few short weeks ago, Amanda Kinden quietly began selling limited quantities of delicious, gourmet doughnuts at Parlour Coffee.

Each morning, she posts a photo to Instagram and Twitter of the delicious varieties available for the day (think cranberry ginger jam, coconut cream meringue and lavender glaze) and each day, Winnipeggers go nuts for them.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on my first one - a thyme-glazed beauty - two weeks ago and reached out to Amanda immediately for an interview. She's the first real option for lovers of gourmet doughnuts in Winnipeg, and the response has been (mostly) overwhelmingly positive. Demand for these babies is so high that Parlour typically runs out by 11am and the staff have joked about implementing an eat-in-only policy.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Amanda early one morning at Parlour to chit chat, take a few photos, and try both flavours that day. Amanda's also been kind enough to answer a few of my questions, despite her baking-filled days and upcoming wedding (congrats!).
How long have you been baking? Can you tell me a little bit about why you chose doughnuts?
I have been baking for about 10 years. My mom and I used to bake Christmas treats every year. Once I moved out on my own, I discovered cooking and more elaborate baking, and I haven't looked back. I'm always looking for a challenge, and I like to try out new ingredients. 

I actually stumbled upon doughnuts. I was asked to make dessert for a Manitoba Eco-Network event back in February. I was trying to think of what to make - something that would accommodate vegan and gluten-free options. Doughnuts came to mind, and they were very well received. People asked for my business card and if they could order from me. It occurred to me that there weren't good doughnuts in Winnipeg, whereas many other major cities have dedicated doughnut shops. I had originally wanted to open a vegetarian restaurant with vegan options, and doughnuts seemed like a more manageable endeavour.  

What are some of your favourite flavour combinations? Do you have a favourite doughnut?
I'm really into chocolate and caramel, oh, and chocolate and mint. Chocolate wins my heart every time. (ed. note: a woman after my own heart!) 

I often say that fruit has no place in dessert, so the fruit-filled doughnuts I make are more a realization that many people do like fruit for dessert, and it's not all about me and what I like. My favourite doughnut is the chocolate cake dipped in chocolate: sometimes with toasted coconut.

People have been going crazy trying to get their hands on your doughnuts! What's the craziest story, tweet or gram you've come across about the demand for them?
The response has been amazing! The craziest tweet was from a woman who started off saying she had to resist the doughnuts (it was chocolate caramel pretzel that day) because she had to be in a swimsuit in 2 weeks. Then a few minutes later, she said she couldn't resist and was heading to Parlour. Then, when she arrives, she tweets that there is a long line. A minute later, she tweets that a guy just walked out with a box of doughnuts. Finally, she gets to the counter, and tweets that the doughnuts were not worth the wait, because they were sold out. She and her friends tweeted a bit, then one of them said something like "We don't need their stupid doughnuts." That twitter conversation escalated quickly! 

Also, the baristas at Parlour have said some people have walked into Parlour asking if this was the doughnut shop. And Facebook makes you add an address when you start a page for a business. Because I don't have my own kitchen yet, I had to put my home address. I got a message on Facebook saying some people had just driven across the city to my street because they thought there was a doughnut shop there!

What about your job would surprise people?
Hmm. That it's just me? That I fry all the doughnuts three at a time in a pot (until I find my own kitchen space so I can use my doughnut fryer).

Do you have any future plans for expansion?
I have many plans for future expansion! I am just trying to find a space and get my financing in order and hope to increase my capacity within a few months.  I thought that I could start the business slowly by selling at Parlour, then opening my own place. I didn't anticipate the awesome reception and demand for fresh, homemade doughnuts in Winnipeg. It's basically the best problem to have. I'm also very appreciative of all the support from Winnipeggers; whether it is people buying doughnuts, or other small business owners offering advice, I've been very fortunate.
A big thank you to Amanda and congrats on her sudden success. If you want to try one of her doughnuts (and I definitely recommend you do), go early, and if they're already out, Parlour also serves some amazing coffee and a selection of non-donut pastry options :)