Maple Blazer Blunt. Tangfastic. Cock-N-Balls. To get a glimpse inside the minds of Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannonn, founders of Portland-based Voodoo Doughnut, it’s easiest, perhaps, to look at some of the flavors they offer. To delve deeper, we spoke with Sara Heise, Executive Wrangler, and Pogson about their favorites, the crazy ideas that didn’t work, and how to pair a doughnut with beer, all while we shoved delicious carbs into our mouths.
CM: How did all this insanity start?
SH: Tres and Cat Daddy had been friends for a few years, and part of that friendship revolved around hanging out and pitching business ideas back and forth. In February 2001, they decided to pull the trigger and do something. They decided on doughnuts, primarily because of the lack of doughnut shops in downtown Portland, and also to go on a crusade to get “doughnuts” spelled correctly. Doughnuts made from dough, not “do.” Channeling Isaac Hayes, the two set off to conquer the doughnut world by opening not just a store that sold sugary bread, but a destination and experience filled with good mojo and weddings.
CM: How do you come up with ideas for new doughnuts?
SH: Different flavor combinations and famous pop icons have been contributors to our creations. We also partner with various charities to create a doughnut of the month and donate a portion of those proceeds to the charity.
CM: Out of all the doughnuts they’ve made, what are the go-to doughnuts for Cat Daddy and Tres?
SH: Cat Daddy’s favorite is the classic old fashioned glazed doughnut. That’s the first doughnut they ever made. Tres’s favorite is the Buttermilk Bar.
CM: Was there an idea for a doughnut you wanted to make but it just didn’t work?
SH: Back in the day, we made Pepto-Bismol and Nyquil doughnuts for the night crowd. That quickly came to an end by the FDA letting us know that you can’t sell food with medicine on top. We also tried out a Jäger Bomb doughnut, which was a raised yeast doughnut filled with Jäger-infused guava jelly, and an Oyster doughnut, which featured a freshly shucked oyster on a plain cake with cocktail sauce, that didn’t turn out too well.
CM: You guys teamed up with Rogue for a series of interesting beers; how would someone go about pairing a doughnut with a beer?
Cat Daddy: I would say that stouts and porters go better with chocolate doughnuts and ones with chocolate toppings. Basic glazed, whether yeast, old fashions or Buttermilk Bars, go with pilsners and lagers.