By: Rebecca Feigelsohn
Rachelle Cadwell is the mastermind and pastry chef behind the artisanal pop-up donut shop, Dough Toronto, that she runs out of the back door of her (and her husband, Scott Vivian’s) restaurant Beast. Every Wednesday night, Cadwell bakes until Thursday morning at 8 am, when she opens her doors to early-rising sweet fanatics who can’t get enough of her doughy treats.
Cadwell’s donut journey began at home in the kitchen with her mother, and her love of donuts prevailed through her 15-year-long career as a pastry chef. When Beast started offering a brunch menu, Cadwell knew a unique sweet option to accompany the other savoury and eccentric offerings on the menu was needed. She first tried her hand at Yorkshire Pudding Popovers, then at Kouign Amann – but they never caught on. Cadwell realized that she was disappointed and unsatisfied by the lack of good donut options in Canada, and began serving her now coveted maple-bacon donut, and it took flight. After showcasing her treats at the Toronto Underground Market (TUM), customers begged to be able to eat her donuts at times other than brunch at Beast; and so began the back-door donut Thursday morning ritual.
Cadwell’s philosophy is simple, “I just like donuts, but I like good donuts,” she says. Everything that goes into the donuts is made from scratch – the batter, the jelly, the filling, all of it; they even make their own bacon at Beast. With a list of over 50 flavour ideas that she is hoping to try, and already 15-20 combinations she has already made for public consumption (including brown butter glazed, balsamic hazelnut, and banana-dulce de leche fritters) customers can guarantee they will never be bored of Cadwell’s delicious treats.
Cadwell likes her donuts soft, fluffy and with a bit of a bite; her favourite flavour she makes is Cinnamon Ghost Crunch, which is a yeast donut with crème fraîche icing, candied ginger and ghost peppers. So far, her best-sellers have been the classic Canadian maple-bacon combo, and the sticky toffee donut, which is quickly gaining popularity.
In the future, Cadwell admits she would love to “do my own thing,” and “If I won the lottery I would expand in the heartbeat,” she says. For the time being, as the co-owner and pastry chef at Beast, she has little time to devote to her budding donut operation and is still getting accustomed to her Wednesday all-nighter routine.
Visit Beast Thursday mornings at 8:00-sell out, or sample donuts at brunch on Saturday/Sunday. Dough Toronto will also be appearing at the September 30th one-year anniversary of TUM. Follow @doughtoronto for back-door donut updates. Beast Restaurant is located at 96 Tecumseth St, thebeastrestaurant.com
Rebecca Feigelsohn is a Toronto based editorial intern for Good Food Revolution. She recently completed her BA in English at McGill University and loves all things sweet. Follow her as she profiles Toronto pastry chefs @GoodFoodRevInt