First off, could there be a better name for cookie dough? I think not. But then again, I am a still somewhat obsessed with the long running show, their top notch writing, and it still makes me laugh. And I’m thinking Homer licks the plate every chance he gets. So DOH! is another Leucadia Farmers Market discovery.
They lengthening lines over the past few months piqued my curiosity. When I finally did have a conversation with proprietors Annalise Brolaski and Nick Hart I found that these two smart young entrepreneurs have already made significant progress beyond the farmer’s market and are well on their way to building something big. It’s a story worth telling and yes, their DOH is all that…raw or cooked! Some highlights from my conversation with Annalise below.
Tell me about growing up and your early culinary/baking influences in the home. Did you have any culinary related jobs?
I’ve been cooking my entire life. My grandma taught me all the basics of baking when I was a kid, from not overworking the dough for a light and fluffy scone, to the creaming method for simple shortbread cookies. I’ve always loved baking. Even my school projects would revolve around food. For science class in 6th grade, I remember making a model of a single cell out of Jell-O, with various candies and ramen noodles. Then in 9th grade, I made a model of my art teacher out of homemade rice crispy treats! From my very first job at a little Hawaiian restaurant in Encinitas, I’ve always worked in the food industry. I didn’t figure out that I wanted to go to culinary school until I had a culinary class in high school in my senior year in 2012. In 2014 I graduated from The Art Institute in San Diego as the Outstanding Baking & Pastry Graduate. I then went on to work at a few restaurants, and decided that I wanted to do my own thing. I did my own catering, as well as provided desserts for a couple restaurants around town, and then most recently started DOH! with my best friend and boyfriend, Nick Hart, this past October 2016.
DOH! is a brilliant name with unlimited marketing potential. Where did this idea come from?
Nick is the genius behind the name! I was skeptical at first, but it really stuck with us!
Are you a Simpson’s fan? If so, what are your top three characters?
First, DOH! is not affiliated with The Simpsons or FOX, however, who isn’t a Simpson’s fan? We’ve been watching the Simpson since we were kids, the first three seasons being our favorite of them all. If I had to pick my top three characters I’d say: Bart, Lisa, and Homer of course!
Back to the DOH here, tell me about the product development and your decision to leave out eggs and dairy.
Nick and I were out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant (this is important, because all of our good ideas come over Thai food). I had been overworking myself doing my catering business alone, it was too much for one person to handle. So he suggested I re-think my entire game-plan, create something that could be sold in grocery stores, with a shelf life so I wouldn’t be constantly wasting what didn’t sell, and having to make everything for basically free. I had recently been experimenting with vegan and gluten-free desserts. It was something challenging that I was interested in. I’m a pretty health conscious person, very conscious about organics, and non-GMO’s, food labeling, and healthy diets in general. So I’ve seen the push for better quality foods and how people are becoming much for conscious of what they put in their bodies. I read a statistic about my generation, the Millennial and that one in three are either vegetarian or vegan, and two in three are open minded about alternatives to animal products. So I believe that the future of food is plant-based, without a doubt! As far as the decision to make DOH! gluten-free, about 1 percent of the entire population really does have an autoimmune disease called Coeliac. If you think about it, that’s 1 in every 100 people, that’s really a lot of people! Nick has a little cousin who has Coeliac, and he gets really sick if he has anything contaminated with gluten. So though it may be a diet fad for some people, it really is something that is important for a lot of people to be able to eat without getting sick.
So what are the basic ingredients?
We use just eight simple ingredients: Certified gluten-free Oat flour, organic coconut oil, almond milk, vegan brown sugar, semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips, baking soda, salt, and pure vanilla. All are non-GMO, and we’d like to be all-organic in the future. We use no preservatives and nothing artificial.
If the lines at your booth at the Leucadia Farmers market are any indication, people are responding very favorably to your product. Where else can folks find DOH in North County?
It has been amazing to see such positive feedback from the public! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard people say, “Oh, this is dangerous!” after they’ve tasted DOH! for the first time. Nick and I do three farmers markets a week: Leucadia (Sun), Carlsbad (Wed), and Oceanside (Thurs). We are also available in seven local grocery stores: Frazier Farms (Oceanside & Vista), Cream of the Crop, Carlsbad Ranch Market, Seaside Market, Lazy Acres, and Specialty Produce (Downtown San Diego).
Besides that you have some exciting new distribution news, are you at liberty to share that?
Yes, we’ve gotten approval at Whole Foods Market! We are in the process of getting our Gluten-Free Certification and once we have that GF logo on our tubs, we will be stocked on Whole Foods’ shelves! We never thought that just four months in to our business ventures that we would even be approaching a big store like Whole Foods, but once people taste our product, they’re hooked!
Any plans for expanding the product line?
We definitely want to add more flavors to our product line. I have a really great Peanut Butter recipe that we hope to be able to launch in the near future!
On another note, you are a young entrepreneur, I’m curious to know your taste in music. What was your first concert and what would be your dream concert lineup? Three bands, any era, dead or alive, one stage, who are you booking?
I’ve been listening to Bob Marley ever since I can remember! My dad would always blast the speakers with Marley, Peter Tosh, and Steel Pulse. My first concert was going to see Tribal Seeds for my 18th birthday. Since then I’ve gotten to see legends like Santana, B.B. King, and The Rolling Stones. I think my dream concert line up would be Led Zeppelin, Santana, and Bob Marley. Luckily, Nick is a musician too, so music is a big part of our lives. He plays guitar, and he taught me to play bass, so we love to jam together. I can’t wait for the day I get to go to his band’s concerts!
Learn more and find out where to purchase DOH! at eatcookiedoh.com.
David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at email@example.com or (858) 395-6905.