|triple chocolate with corn nuts|
Rachelle co-owns Beast Restaurant with her husband Scott. Prior to that fateful day in Chicago, she was serving kouign amann as a starter on the Beast brunch menu. (Kouign amann is a delicious French pastry that is reminiscent of a croissant with additional sugar between the layers of buttery pastry.) But this pastry was not a great seller, probably because of its relative obscurity in North America.
Upon returning from Chicago, she replaced the kouign amann with doughnuts on the brunch menu. The first flavour, which remains her signature flavour, was maple bacon. A yeast-raised doughnut dipped in maple icing and then garnished with ground bacon. Doughnuts remain on the Beast brunch menu to this day.
Following the success of the TUM, Rachelle started selling doughnuts out of the back door of the restaurant this past summer. On Thursday mornings, the door would open at 8am and would remain open until she sold out. After a few weeks, there would be a line 10 people deep before the door even opened.
The success of the back door venture has evolved into two other locations within the city selling Rachelle's doughnuts. On Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, you can find them at Sam James Coffee. They can also be found on Saturday mornings at Sanagan's Meat Locker in Kensington Market.
And then the Food Network came knocking. I am proud to announce that Rachelle (and I) will be contestants on a new show called Donut Showdown. Each episode begins with three teams creating doughnuts from a mystery basket of ingredients with one team eliminated after the challenge. The remaining two teams compete to create a large batch of doughnuts based on a theme. The winner gets $10,000.
(lime curd, tequila icing, salt)
I can't tell you the results of our episode because I am under strict confidentially agreements, but I can say that it was one of the most fun days of my life and I am thankful that I was included. There are not many chances that you get as a chef to experience the adrenaline and creativity of black box competitions. My last experience prior to this was a final exam at culinary school.
I hope that you will watch and cheer us on.
Update: May 20, 2013
A huge thanks to everyone who watched us compete and shared the 'love'.
You can watch the entire episode here.
And a reminder that backdoor doughnuts have started up again on Thursday mornings from the side door at Beast Restaurant. You might even meet the doughnut champion in person.