For Philadel­phia Phish fan, time to make dough­nuts

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

NEW YORK — Phish an­nounced its 13-show run in New York with a video in Jan­uary that showed gi­ant dough­nuts rolling through the city.

That got Feli­cia D’Am­bro­sio’s phone buzzing, with calls from friends hop­ing that might mean a role for the Phish su­per­fan and co-owner of a Philadel­phia dough­nut and fried chicken shop that had made dough­nuts ded­i­cated to the band in the past.

“Well, no, I don’t want to work on Phish tour,” thought D’Am­bro­sio, who has been to more than 100 shows.

Then came the re­quest. From the band.

Time to make the dough­nuts.

Dough­nuts are ev­ery­where in Phish’s “Baker’s Dozen” res­i­dency at Madison Square Gar­den, which kicked off last week and lasts un­til Aug 6, from the tick­ets to a huge mu­ral to the thou­sands of Fed­eral Donuts be­ing given out to fans each night. The band is even work­ing each night’s cus­tom fla­vor into its setlists.

The band “never stops sur­pris­ing me and de­light­ing me and I trust them”, D’Am­bro­sio says. “To us at Fed­eral Donuts, it’s this weird col­lab­o­ra­tion of this thing you love and this thing you love.”

Phish doesn’t need gim­micks to draw fans to their mostly sold-out shows, but they are known for play­ful gags on­stage. One song fea­tures guitarist Trey Anas­ta­sio and bass player Mike Gor­don per­form­ing while jump­ing on tram­po­lines, and drum­mer Jon Fish­man’s other in­stru- ments in­clude a vac­uum cleaner.

It was Fish­man’s stan­dard out­fit — a blue dress cov­ered with red dough­nut shapes — that first in­spired D’Am­bro­sio to whip up The Fish­man — a blue vanilla rasp­berry dough­nut with a pink glaze — ahead of a 2015 show.

Mark Welker, the ex­ec­u­tive pas­try chef at New York’s Eleven Madison Park and No­Mad, took no­tice of the Fish­man dough­nut and an­other Fed­eral Donuts cre­ation, The Fluff­head, named for a clas­sic Phish song — and when the band came to him for a rec­om­men­da­tion on a dough­nut maker for the res­i­dency, he rec­om­mended D’Am­bro­sio.

“I knew their dough­nuts are re­ally, re­ally good. They’re fans. This is the only op­tion,” Welker says.

The band sent its fla­vor ideas to Fed­eral Donuts chef Matt Fein, who came up with his in­ter­pre­ta­tions to send back to the band.

“Then they were like, ‘yea, rock and roll, go for it,’ ” D’Am­bro­sio says. “It was nice and sim­ple.” For the Phish straw­berry dough­nut, Fein says that his muse was a Good Hu­mor Straw­berry Short­cake Dessert Bar. He made the short­cake top­ping out of freeze-dried straw­ber­ries and dough­nut crumbs.

“It’s neat to get their take on what they wanted and then be able to put my name on it,” Fein says. “Most of the fla­vors they chose were pretty tra­di­tional. That be­ing said, they said grow­ing up they only re­ally had tra­di­tional dough­nuts.”

Fed­eral Donuts em­ploy­ees are putting in overnight shifts to get the dough­nuts made in Philadel­phia and shipped up to New York for each show — but Fein says the fact that the band is work­ing the fla­vor into the show makes the ex­tra work to­tally worth­while.


Matt Fein pre­pares dough­nuts for a Phish con­cert at Fed­eral Donuts in Philadel­phia. The band works each night’s cus­tom fla­vor into its setlists.

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