A chef, restaurateur, and local celebrity, I have never been more nervous about handing out a cupcake before meeting Tom Douglas.
Tom Douglas stopped by Third Place Books to promote his latest book The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. The recipes are not for the beginner baker, and I’ve already come up with ways to improve my own baked goods based on the pictures and descriptions alone. Tom Douglas currently owns 13 restaurants in the Seattle area and has another opening next year. My current favorite is the Dahlia Lounge, but I’m sure it would be Serious Pie if people would stop going without me. I also just learned about Serious Biscuit, which is a biscuit bar, and it’s already at the top of my list of places I need to eat at. He is also a 2 time James Beard Award winner and defeated Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef.
Tom Douglas’s business and cooking model are a true inspiration. His restaurants are dedicated to fresh, local, sustainable, and delicious. Too often I see people choosing food that is cheap and convenient instead of food that is nutritious and not made of strange chemicals. There are simple recipes out there that don’t require an expert chef to prepare, won’t break the bank, and taste great. Tom Douglas is one of the leaders of a food revolution that desperately needs to occur. People don’t know what is in their food or where it came from, and I strongly believe that food should start on a farm and not in a factory. The old saying is that “you are what you eat” and if you’re eating a bunch of artificial flavors, preservatives, stabilizers, and food replacers, what does that make you?
This cupcake is one of the new Buttered Rum cupcakes. It starts with one of our white chocolate cupcakes filled with caramel custard that has been dipped in a rum simple syrup. The icing is a caramel rum buttercream with a butterscotch drizzle. I freehanded the fish out of chocolate as a nod to Tom Douglas’s usage of local ingredients combined with our local love for salmon. I admit I’ve never had buttered rum, and this cupcake is ironically inspired by my childhood love for Butter Rum Lifesavers.
Tom Douglas in person was NOT scary at all. He is more like a giant teddy bear who loves food, especially the occasional maple cream puff. He talked about his business philosophy, his food philosophy, answered questions, and even handed out treats from the Dahlia Bakery. I don’t believe in straight up taking another chef’s recipes, so you won’t be seeing anything from the Dahlia Bakery at the Honey Bear, but you might be seeing some new flavors and twists on the current menu.