A Hole In One (Thousand Or So): The 15-Year-Old Boy Slaying The Doughnut Game
Sometimes in life, someone special comes along and shakes up our idea of what’s possible. 15-year-old Melbourne schoolboy Morgan Hipworth is one such person, and he’s putting us all to shame with his enthusiasm, innovation, motivation and work ethic … not to mention his ridiculously delicious handmade artisan doughnuts!
From an early age Morgan knew he loved to cook – he’d spend weekends creating three-course dinners for his family and serving them in their dining room, which he promptly named ‘Bistro Morgan’. In 2015, a chance conversation with a restaurant owner saw him begin to supply them with cakes and slices. When his heart-shaped Valentine’s Day doughnuts sold out, Morgan realised he was onto a big thing, and began selling his doughnuts in cafes across Melbourne.
The demand was huge for his fluffy, deep-fried and creatively decorated balls of dough – he was making around a thousand doughnuts every weekend for others to sell. By September 2016 he had formulated a plan and approached his parents with a proposal – to open a pop-up shop of his own in Melbourne’s hip inner city suburb of Windsor. According to Morgan, negotiations with his parents took about two weeks. “I was getting really annoyed with them!” he laughs good-naturedly.
Morgan eventually convinced his mum (Ellie) and his dad (Mark) that opening a real bricks-and-mortar Bistro Morgan that sold only doughnuts was a sound business decision, and the three of them set to work. Mark took to the tools to do the fit out, and Ellie helped ‘front of house’, serving while also running her own business. The pop-up was so successful that it’s now become a permanent store, and is enjoying a successful summer as the word spreads and tastebuds are tantalised.
With the new school year looming and all-important Year 11 and VCE studies about to descend upon him, Morgan has just hired a professional baker named Dean, whose 20 years’ experience will be put to good use at 5am each day, making fresh dough for the doughnuts. A small team of part-timers are also on hand to help Morgan decorate the doughnuts, but this doesn’t mean he can slack off. Most days these summer holidays he’s in the store by 7am and doesn’t leave until 9pm. That’s dedication!
Once school goes back, Morgan will front up to his store each afternoon and will be there every weekend, completing his homework in between serving customers. He says he is constantly thinking about the business – always dreaming up new flavours and doing all the social media himself.
Each week he offers between 5 and 7 different flavoured doughnuts, which change every Sunday. Some of his ‘classics’ are Fairy Floss, White Chocolate Raspberry, Ferrero Rocher, and his best seller, Golden Gaytime. The day we visited the shop, my daughters and I tried two varieties: Coconut Lemon Meringue (complete with a syringe filled with lemon curd to squeeze into or onto your doughnut) and a Nutella Cinnamon and Popcorn.
They were without doubt or exaggeration the fluffiest, tastiest doughnuts we’ve ever eaten. Oh. Em. Ge! Morgan adapted the recipe from one he originally found on the Internet, and through a series of experiments has now made it his own unique formula. He takes pride in using only the finest and purest ingredients. Real eggs, real butter, and real Belgian and Swiss chocolate (unlike his competitors who use a cheap icing or glaze to decorate their doughnuts).
Then there are the ‘Pimped Milkshakes’ that Morgan makes to go with his doughnuts – my girls chose a Cookie Dough, a NOM-NOM (Nutella, Oreo, Marshmallow) and a Chocolate Brownie. Don’t question it – go all Nike on it and JUST DO IT! Yes, they are that good.
All this work could potentially make Morgan a dull boy, but quite the opposite is true. He’s super friendly, well balanced and interesting to chat to. It helps that he still finds time for outside interests, with athletics being a favourite – his dad Mark is the coach of about 50 athletes and Morgan enjoys getting along to training sessions when he can.
One of my favourite parts of our visit was when I asked Morgan what his favourite flavour doughnut is. He grinned at me and admitted he’s only ever eaten a few doughnuts in his life. Oh the irony! Seriously, this kid doesn’t know what he’s missing out on!
His plans for the future include hosting doughnut degustation dinners once a month, by setting the shop up as a restaurant for the night and serving around 20 customers an innovative range of savoury and sweet creations. He’s also in the process of testing a recipe for vegan doughnuts and may add a gluten-free range down the track.
Luckily for the people of Melbourne, Morgan chose to ignore an online careers test that told him his calling was as a call centre worker or a laundry mat operator. Clearly his calling is to package up a slice of sugary heaven in the shape of an artisan doughnut and put smiles on our faces as we leave his store, knowing the world is in good hands with go-getters like him waiting in the wings.
I’ll take one of everything thanks!