Bjorn De La Cruz: For me it’s a piece of art. COMM: Made with Cristal Champagne and 24-carat gold leaf, these luxury donuts cost a staggering
$100 each. COMM: They are the brain child of Bjorn De La Cruz, the executive chef and co-owner at
the Manila Social Club in New York. Bjorn De La Cruz: The concept for the golden donut was a pastry to celebrate the New Year.
I made it originally for my staff, for the family, and all of our close friends. I was
drinking some champagne and eating one of our regular ube donuts, and I thought to myself
“This goes very well together”. Bjorn De La Cruz: Ube is not expensive. It’s a root crop, and this is one of the reasons
why it’s so great with this dessert, we are mixing high- and low-brow ingredients.
To make a batch, generally it takes about 90 minutes. I make them in batches of about
8 or 9, depending on how big they puff up. Usually I try to get them to be about 5-6
inches in diameter. The part that takes the most time is the golden leafing. I try to
make sure that the gold is in small enough pieces that it catches the light, that it
reflects from all angles. It has no flavour, it is something to kind of get attention and
be shiny. The taste is predominantly Ube and Cristal. If you do not like the taste of champagne
then you will probably not like this donut. COMM: So how good do they actually taste? ARSEN ATBASHIAN: Oh wow! You can really taste the champagne in it, and with the ube which
is more like an earthy taste, it just goes so well together. I just want to eat it all. COMM: Despite the $100 price tag, the donuts are selling well, and while Bjorn can’t
ship them abroad at the moment, it hasn’t stopped customers trying. Bjorn De La Cruz: We’ve had many requests from abroad. Everywhere from Singapore to
Australia, France and the UK. We have actually some clients who are flying in on Friday who
have 2 donuts, and then they will fly back to London. I’m very happy that they are
being enjoyed by everybody in the world. Bjorn De La Cruz: I think it could be worth more than the $100. For me, this particular
dish is about celebration, about sharing.