Baker of the Month: TOM STAFFORD

Baker of the Month March 2023

Bakers: Tom Stafford
Bakery Business: doh’hut
Location: Leeds city centre with another store recently opened in London, UK.
Social Media: @dohhut

This month we’re marching into Spring featuring our latest Baker of Chef Works – Tom Stafford from the indulgent doh’hut in Leeds. Taking delicious donuts to new heights, Tom has evolved the business from his much-loved food truck to a perfectly located city-centre store in Leeds, with a second store just opened in Exmouth Market, London. A wearer of Chef Works for many years, get to know the master of donuts here…

1. Describe life at doh’hut:
Life at doh’hut is great. We take a lot of pride in the products we sell, we make everything from scratch and hand roll each donut daily. Also, our customers are great and we have a sick playlist. Music is the key to a good day!

2. How would you describe your kitchen and team at doh’hut?
Our team is made up of great personalities, we only have one person who has come from an actual professional kitchen background. We teach everyone how to do everything at doh’hut, so we have all learnt from the same place. It’s great fun and there’s always good banter flying about.

Fresh donuts starting to take shape.

3. Favourite Chef Works item and why?
The Austin apron every time. It’s a great material and length. For our staff you can tell who the OG’s are. The ‘made to fade’ colour fades really nice over the years, so the paler the apron the more experienced the staff.  Our OG’s use this as a badge of honour!

4. First job:
Putting Plastic Jackets on books.

5. Favourite cookbook:
Momofuku Milk Bar. It has loads of great recipes and is really creative.

6. Your awards/career highlights:
Winning the British Street Food awards in 2018 was an incredible moment for me. From never working in a professional kitchen to being regarded as the best against so many amazing traders. This gave me a big confidence boost, to really commit myself to doh’hut and go all in. The bricks and mortar followed shortly after this.

7. Your baking inspiration and why:
Nancy Silverton. Her chef’s table gets me itching to get in the kitchen.

8. Your speciality bake (we love tasting notes!):
Toffee apple donut!  It’s a granny smith spiced compote that we pack with flavour. We then fold this through Chantilly cream. For the top of the donut we make Red Hard Crack Candy, which we dip the tops of the donuts in. This is straight up nostalgia for me, as it takes me back to being at the Hull fair when I was a kid. Available for Bonfire night every year since its creation!

Baker Tom in his happy place.

9. Favourite dish to eat:
Pappardelle Pasta with Butter, Lemon, Garlic, Chilli & Parsley. It’s just so simple but crazy tasty!

10. Weirdest thing you ever ate:
A raw horse meat sandwich in Parma, Italy. I was persuaded by a local to get it as it’s their speciality. It was horrible and they gave me a huge portion thinking they were being generous. It was bad, the chef and the local who persuaded me sat and watched me eat with a giant smile on his face!

11. Favourite ice cream flavour:
Coconut. Always coconut.

12. Favourite family recipe:
My grandma’s Leek & Potato soup. She still won’t tell me the recipe!

Delicious donuts ready to go… 

13. Favourite wine, any specific recommendations?
Nouveau, Love Bite served chilled – it’s crazy! Dangerously tasty and easy to drink.

14. Who would you most like to bake for?
Matty Matherson, my favourite chef personality. An absolute legend.

15. And who would you least like to bake for?
All vegans. (Sorry vegans).

Donuts at the ready in the Leeds store.

16. Favourite things to do when not baking:
I love to longboard, eat and play Call of Duty. That fills up what little downtime I have!

17. Your latest project:
Our new store in Exmouth Market in London. We hope to open up a few locations across the big smoke in the next few years – watch this space.

18. Favourite city?
Bologna, Italy. An incredible atmosphere, architecture and of course food. There is loads of incredible pasta and produce.

19. Your greatest indulgence?
Sticky Toffee Pudding.  I will never share!

20. And finally, your all-time best baking tip?
Sorry I have 2:
1. Always use precise scales.
2. Citric Acid – A great ingredient to add sour/acid into pastry without having to adjust with lemon juice or other liquid products, which will affect consistency.

Photography: Steve Bootle.

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