by Nancy Stiles
Strange Donuts (2709 Sutton Boulevard; 314-932-5851) has proven itself to be more than the little Kickstarter-that-could several times in the past year, but hiring a corporate chef solidifies its big-time status. The Maplewood doughnut shop is bringing on Four Seasons pastry sous chef Mary Boehne to help with the upcoming expansion. Boehne also penned the "Real Life of a Pastry Chef" column for Gut Check awhile back.
See also: The Real Life of a St. Louis Pastry Chef
"We've known she is super accomplished as a baker and chef, and as an entrepreneur," Strange co-owner Corey Smale tells Gut Check. "She studied at Mizzou, so she has the business background and the culinary background. We needed someone who can understand both, because we're so small, but we're growing."
Strange Donuts opened in Maplewood last October, but announced a second location in Kirkwood back in April and an expansion to Columbia in June. Boehne will help organize and restructure the kitchens and work in a leadership role for all three locations.
"Their company and that brand is so strong, and I'm excited to work with a small business and be more on the day-to-day operations," Boehne says. "Their team is really awesome and extremely dedicated. Especially for it being a small business, they really hire people they believe in. It was pretty inspirational coming from a corporate background."
Before joining the Four Seasons and its restaurant, Cielo, Boehne worked at Winslow's Home and the Four Seasons in Vail, Colorado. Smale says Boehne will be working to "perfect" everything in the Strange Donuts kitchen. In addition to the expansion, Strange is also working toward making everything from scratch, including its jellies and glazes.
"We have a lot to learn from Mary and vice versa. We're both very, very excited. It's going to be a great relationship," Smale says. "There's not a lot of time to get comfortable, but we're super thankful. Mary's a huge addition to us and provides the stability we've been looking for."
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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