All photos by the author.

LA’s Best Chefs Are Collaborating on Crazy Doughnuts

Chef Ari Taymor is wrangling talent for a new series, Doughnuts With Friends, at Alma at The Standard’s Sunday brunch in Los Angeles.

Nov 29 2016, 8:00pm

All photos by the author.

Doughnuts obviously make for great breakfast treats and midday office snacks, but they're also vessels for meaningful chef collaborations. Ari Taymor is wrangling up talent for a new series, Doughnuts With Friends, at Alma at The Standard's Sunday brunch in Los Angeles.

Baroo's Kwang Uh was the first doughnut friend. The Korean chef created a coconut kabocha squash glazed doughnut filled with matured banana compote and topped with fried mochi, candied pumpkin seeds, and yuzu zest. It was the first doughnut he'd ever made in his life.


Chef Ari Taymor in the dining room of Alma at the Standard. All photos by the author.

"For us it's really fun seeing people's point of view, and how they approach it," Taymor said. "It's fried dough, so it's kind of a blank canvas."

In Alma's sunny mid-century modern dining room, I sat down with Taymor and the second collaborator in the series, Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Jon & Vinny's, Trois Familia, etc.) to learn more about what Doughnuts With Friends means for both parties.

"Always having this community in Los Angeles is very important," Dotolo said of bonding in the chef community. "Ari is younger than I am, a new generation. He came on the scene a few years ago and it's nice to be accepted by the young guys and have the old guys accept you as well."


Taymor and Vinny Dotolo in the Alma kitchen.

"It's just nice to collaborate. You guys—I don't even consider you old guys," Taymor jumped in.

"There are young guys who act like old guys and vice versa, it's about attitude, passion, and still loving to make things and do new things and meet new people and be outside of your comfort zone. I think that's why it's exciting to see people who are constantly looking at what's different, what do we love and how can we share it."


Straying from the Italian doughnuts at Jon & Vinny's, Dotolo gravitated toward curry and aromatics for his Alma doughnut.

Taymor chose his doughnut counterparts based on restaurants and chefs he admired, or people he knew would enjoy the project. Upcoming collaborators include Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson of Madcapra and Kisme, Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, and Malcolm Livingston of Noma.

The doughnut vehicle works great not only because it works like a blank canvas, but because it's a Los Angeles staple.


The curry-filled doughnut gets its glaze.

"I think LA culture deeply connects with donuts," Dotolo said. "We have a really strong donut culture here."

Dotolo rattled off classic doughnut staples like Primo's and Philippe's, and modern ones like Blue Star. At his restaurant Jon & Vinny's, Dotolo serves Italian doughnuts, bombolone, stuffed with traditional fillings like jam and Nutella.


Dotolo and Taymor's coconut curry doughnut with a clear lime glaze, makrut lime zest, and toasted coconut.

For his Doughnuts With Friends creation, he took a cue from Taymor's creative style and went for a coconut curry doughnut with a clear lime glaze, makrut lime zest, and toasted coconut shavings.

While the chefs worked out the recipe in the kitchen, they swapped restaurant hardship stories, discussed ticketed reservation systems and California taxes. There was shit-talking and shared reverence. Eventually they finalized the recipe and the doughnut was ready for its debut.

Dotolo's doughnut will run on all of the The Standard Hollywood's menus until December 1, before Kramer and Hymanson's creation takes its place.