In Dum Dum Donutterie’s flagship Shoreditch branch, plump doughnuts prettily on a counter in shades of blush pink and lime green or boldly naked and topped with cream, tempting East End hipsters and the odd social-media star or celebrity (Peter Andre and beauty volgger Zoella are fans). But by closing time, the counters have been emptied by customers, ready to be restocked with more goodies the following morning.
Dum Dum Donutterie“is the brainchild of Paul Hurley: baker, entrepreneur and lover of doughnuts. Having started his career aged 16 working at Dunkin’ Donuts, Hurley worked his way up and got to know the business from many different angles, from production and sales to operations and planning. He also developed a penchant for doughnuts, whether glazed, filled or modestly dusted with sugar. “Nobody knows more about doughnuts than me,” he says.
When Hurley broke away from the US master franchise in the 1990s, he wasn’t ready to leave the doughnut world behind him. After travelling around France and Italy, working in patisseries and learning how to create baked delicacies with finesse, he returned to Britain with a dream of creating the best doughnut in the world. Teaming up with a friend from his Dunkin’ Donuts days, Hurley had a few false starts but eventually the duo perfected a baked doughnut recipe that was lower in fat than your typical American version and used superior base ingredients. “I even know exactly which farm my flour is grown in,” he says. Aesthetics were of equal importance and Hurley drew on his patisserie training in France to make sure the finished product looked the part too.
The duo secured a patent for the method and started supplying unbranded doughnuts to top retailers. But a personal tragedy – the death of both his mother and business partner within the span of five months – prompted Hurley to reassess his model. “It was just me, so I decided to do things exactly how I wanted and tuned out any outside opinions to prevent my concept from getting watered down,” he says. “Then if it didn’t work out, I only had myself to blame.”