We caught up with Columbus donut queen Heather Morris to get the scoop on her new North Market digs
Photo by Tim Johnson
Columbus donut queen Heather Morris has been serving her decadent, playful flavors at various stores and coffee shops around town for a couple of years. Now her Destination Donuts have a permanent destination: She's readying to open a full-time stand at the North Market, where she's been a frequent pop-up guest. We caught up with Morris to get the scoop on her new digs, her showdown victory on Cooking Channel, and the inspiration behind wildly creative donut flavors like Red Raspberry Hibiscus, Rosemary Caramel Pinenut, and Triple Berry Cardamom.
With a permanent home at the North Market, do you plan to expand your selection or offer other items?
We are going to start off with a menu our patrons have come to know and love: donuts! We will be adding a wonderful coffee - custom-blended and roasted by Luck Bros. - and I think we've got a home run. As we settle into our new space we will potentially add some savory items like donut sandwiches, but our primary focus is on the sweet side. Our flavor options will continue to expand and new and interesting donuts will be launched shortly after opening. Stay tuned!
Where do you find inspiration for new flavors?
I'm a voracious reader and love to pore over a mountain of cookbooks when I have spare time. Inspiration comes from reading those, from having dinner with friends and having a dessert and/or main dish that I think I could transform into a donut. Cocktails have inspired some of my summer favorites like the Mojito donut as well as the Bourbon Peach.
Have you ever gone too far with a donut flavor - a combination that was so crazy it just didn't work?
Not yet! But give me time, I'm sure I'll whip something up that is just too crazy - which is half the fun!
What is your very favorite donut flavor?
I tend to gravitate to salty/sweet combinations like Butterscotch & Smoked Sea Salt, White Chocolate Pretzel, and Salty Caramel Cinnamon Rolls with Smoked Almonds. How can I pick just one?!
What's the secret to a great donut?
Care in preparation is essential. You want to mix the dough enough to develop the gluten, but not overwork the dough so that it is tough. I like a donut that has a little body to it, some chew. I think the use of quality ingredients shines through in a good donut. Using pre-made glazes out of a bucket that leave a film in your mouth I find unappealing. I like to eat donuts that are not the "normal flavors" and generally the great donuts that I've had push the envelope in terms of the traditional flavor profile.
You did Cbus proud by winning "Donut Showdown" on Cooking Channel. How do you think the Columbus food scene is perceived outside the city?
I think that people are starting to recognize that we have some true talent here, that we're not just about fast food, meat and potatoes, etc. I'm proud to say that I'm from here and am inspired by the current food scene. People are definitely starting to take note on what is going on. More needs to happen, but that's the beauty of this business - we can all continue to grow, learn and get better.
What is your second-favorite food after donuts?
That's a hard question. I think it's probably Indian food. I love the use of spice and the abundance of vegetables, as well as the variety of preparations. And of course there's vada - a savory donut made from ground lentils, onions, chilies and spices - which is to die for.
Follow Heather Morris on Twitter at @heatherdonut or visit www.destinationdonuts.com.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this blog stated that Destination Donuts would open its stand in the North Market this weekend. We have since learned that it will open at a later date.