He’s known as the Doughnut Guy, and he’s okay with that. Jeremy Riel is a new vendor at the monthly Millbrook Farmers’ Market, offering more than a dozen varieties of luscious, hand-made doughnuts and French pastries. Equipped with training from Ottawa’s Cordon Bleu school, he has been selling his generous-sized sweets treats at the Peterborough Farmer’s market for eight years now. Last year decided to ditch is day job and launch his pastry business full-time.
Acknowledging the danger in consuming his confections, he named his business Guilty Pleasures Patisserie. Things were progressing well until early February, when a devastating fire destroyed the historic P.G. Towns and Sons General Store in Douro where he did his baking. The kitchen was close to home and his children’s school and he had been renting their kitchen space. The fire destroyed all of his equipment which was not insured. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, he was quickly back on his feet.
Besides keeping awake on Saturday evenings to attend kids hockey and baseball events after baking all night for the Saturday market, the biggest work challenge he faces these days is securing adequate kitchen facilities. Currently he relies on the commercial kitchen at the Douro arena and shifts to other locations when it is otherwise engaged. Baking this volume and variety of product requires careful planning as he insists on having things as fresh as possible, so switching kitchens adds another layer of complexity to the task.
To expand his business, Jeremy is reaching out to other local markets, particularly ones with mid-week dates. He has also taken on some commercial assignments, including constructing a wall of doughnuts where consumers can help themselves, and a doughnut tower for a wedding. His most popular items are his apple fritter and the maple bacon doughnut, reminding us that Canadians appreciate sweets with a local flair. Come to the next Millbrook Farmers’ Market before breakfast so you have room to consume one of Jeremy’s generous and beautiful pastries. KG