January 7, 2016
Elevating a Munchie to Amazingness
The science-minded, flavor-obsessed chefs behind the influential blog Ideas in Food master fundamental pleasures with Curiosity Doughnuts in Stockton.
For years, clients have been asking Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa when they were going to open a restaurant. Little wonder. The couple’s blog, Ideas in Food, launched in 2004, is closely followed by the culinary vanguard for its freewheeling creativity and scientific sophistication in pursuit of maximum flavor. Indeed, Maximum Flavor: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook was the title of the second of three influential cookbooks that Alex and Aki, as they’re known, have produced.
The restaurant question also made sense because Talbot, 41, and Kamozawa, 43, are experienced chefs and high-priced consultants as well as husband and wife. “We finally opened a restaurant,” Talbot says with a laugh. “It’s just one that happens to serve only frozen custard and doughnuts.”
Curiosity Doughnuts, while not quite a restaurant, is a snug, smartly designed stall in the Stockton Market. It debuted October 2, and its deeply flavorful, ethereally textured doughnuts quickly drew OMGs from the fooderati. The stand, open only Saturdays and Sundays, often sells out. Talbot, the baker, hustles trays of hot doughnuts all day from the kitchen to the stand.
But why custard and doughnuts from the couple known for creations like lime-pickle pesto or liquid baked potato?
“I have a serious doughnut fetish,” Talbot admits. He traces it to his Westchester boyhood. Visiting East Hampton with his family, he stood in awe at the window of Dreesen’s Market, watching its famous doughnut machine fry classic cake doughnuts that he then wolfed down, hot and soulful. To this day, Talbot drags Kamozawa and their daughter, Amaya, 7, to check out old-school doughnut shops on their travels around the country.
But doughnuts were an afterthought when they visited the Stockton Market on Bridge Street last August and discovered that a stall was available. A maker of artisanal ice cream had recently departed, and market manager Dawn McBeth asked them if they do ice cream. “I said, ‘yes,’” Talbot relates, “‘but what I would do is soft-serve frozen custard.’ She asked, ‘What else would you do?’” His instant response: “Doughnuts!”
Read full story at njmonthly.com/articles/eat-drink/elevating-a-munchie-to-amazingness/
By Adam Erace | January 7, 2016 | Appears in the January 2016 issue
Photos by Paul Bartholomew