It was a deep sense of nostalgia that drove owner Sami Anz's vision of a doughnut shop that's been three years in the making. "I wanted to go back into my early years when I'd hang out outside, having a doughnut while sitting on a big tree," Anz says. "I wanted to re-create that."
The native Angeleno decided to name the shop Kettle in part after a gift of an old French cast-iron kettle, presented by a good friend, that symbolized to Anz both versatility and durability. "Her family came on the Mayflower and this kettle was used to make beignets. They made everything in that kettle. You can see the history. And it also goes to how doughnuts are cooked in frying kettles."Anz has a background in interior design, which shows in the shop's clean lines and occasional retro touches. He called upon Marjorie Ohrnstein, a private chef who regularly consults on menu development through her company Fun Food Catering, to establish the foundational recipes, from yeast to cake doughnuts.
The decor's mix of contemporary and throwback is echoed in the 20 or so flavors in rotation, including a Boston cream pie, s'mores with chocolate pastry cream, blueberry old-fashioned with lemon drizzle and vanilla bean-glazed French cruller. There's also a small selection of maple-glazed rolls, such as bacon and cheddar, and sausage and gruyere. To pair with the pastries, there's a beverage menu that runs from black cherry soda and ginger ale to coffees and teas from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Once the recipes were in place, Anz and two bakers, Molly Jamison and Proy Erway, joined Ohrnstein in making tweaks to finalize the flavors and the eventual menu. Together, they've been working on the menu since February. The doughnuts, fried in palm oil, will be made from scratch each day, including the glazes, on site by Jamison and Erway.
As a consulting chef, Ohrnstein also brought knowledge of logistics in running a culinary business. She has extended experience in food, having previously run the kitchen at Boca on Melrose as executive chef, and developed more than 40 winning entries for recipe competitions such as Stagg Chili and Tony Roma's. She's amassed a collection of 10,000-plus cookbooks, about a fifth of which she keeps at home, with the rest, boxed in 75 cases, in storage. "I've been collecting since I was 13. I think I was the best customer when Cook's Library was down on Third Street," Ohrnstein says. "I was in there every week buying cookbooks."
Ohrnstein says a gluten-free doughnut made from almond flour will be available on the menu with a different flavor -- chocolate, lemon or almond -- offered each day. There also will be a seasonal doughnut, such as a pumpkin pie or caramelized pear with gorgonzola cheese, come fall. "The list can really be endless when it comes to different flavors," she says.
The shop will be open Monday through Wednesday from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.; and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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