MiNDFOOD (New Zealand)
A pair of enterprising Auckland bakers have created a thriving donut business fuelled by sugar, experimentation and hard work.
Two enterprising young Auckland bakers built a thriving donut business.
It’s easy to understand why Grace Tauber and Shenine Dube are able to finish each other’s sentences – they went to school together, lived together and now they run their successful donut business, Doe Donuts, together. “And we hang out together,” the pair laugh. Dube and Tauber, who are now 28, met when they were about 15 while attending Epsom Girls Grammar in Auckland.
A few years after finishing school, the pair moved across the ditch with a group of friends. It was in Sydney that they fell in love with the foodie scene. “When we were in Sydney, we ate out a lot,” says Dube. Each weekend, the pair would visit a new bakery, café or restaurant.
It was there that their obsession with donuts began. But as much as Sydney fuelled their appetite for the foodie scene, there was one thing missing. “We were feeling homesick and we were missing Island food,” says Tauber.
To help combat the homesickness, Tauber’s mum sent her a recipe for Cook Island donuts. “It was a success,” she says. “So we just started putting lots of different ingredients in the dough and trying new things.”
Although the seed for Doe had been planted by the time the pair returned home in early 2016, it took time to turn their hobby into a
“CRÈME BRÛLÉE IS ONE OF THE HARDEST FLAVOURS TO MAKE.” SHENINE DUBE
full-time career. Tauber and Dube started making donuts once a week for a market on Auckland’s North Shore. By 2017, they had registered Doe as a company and had become more consistent with their donut endeavours. “We were doing donuts every Friday, but we still had full-time jobs,” says Tauber.
Now, almost every day is donut day for the duo that do everything from making the donuts to delivering them. Dube says that, technically, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are their days off , but they’re constantly responding to emails and if the demand is there, they’ll work right through the week.
Each day the pair are in the kitchen by 5am and spend eight hours making 200 donuts between them. Doe tends to have eight flavours on the menu each week, three staples such as cinnamon sugar, vanilla-bean glaze and chocolate ganache, and the remainder an evolving selection of specialty flavours. Crème brûlée is one of the hardest flavours to make, but everyone loves it,” says Dube. “As soon as we put it on the menu, we know it’s going to be a big week.”
Most of the inspiration for their unique flavours, such as Anzac Bicky, S’Mores and Apple Crumble, come from desserts and treats they enjoy. “We just turned them into donuts,” says Dube.
“We also like to experiment with flavours that most people wouldn’t think of, and we ask our customers and followers on Instagram what they would like, too.”
Other times flavours are a complete accident, says Tauber. “We might have a whole lot of flavours or toppings from different donuts and we’ll mash them all together and give them ago,” she explains. In fact, it’s how they came up with one of their recent success stories – the raspberry jam and marshmallow donut. “We had left over jam from our jam and cream donuts and left over marshmallows from our s’mores donut, so we tried it and it worked.”
Doe had the ideal business set-up in place when the country moved back into level 3 after the lockdown. “We are online-based and offer pick up and takeaway or we deliver,” says Dube. However, they would still love their own shopfront that delivers the same joy, personality and experience as their mouth-watering Instagram account. “It would be nice for customers to come in and get a real sense and feel of our flavours,” says Dube. doe.co.nz