WORCESTER - A love for donuts and bagels inspired Chef Robin Clark to consider launching her own business, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed the idea into a reality.
The former chef de cuisine at deadhorse hill and executive pastry chef for Niche Hospitality, Clark was laid off at the start of the pandemic.
“The pandemic hit and I had nothing but time to sit around at home and say ‘Ok, what does my future look like? What am I going to do on the other side of this?’,” Clark said. “I started telling myself I would take this time to get a handle on this. The more I thought of it, the more I realized I could do it. And I said, ‘The time is now. Let’s make this happen.’”
Clark said she had always had a feeling she wanted to start her own business and when she announced her plans for Doh! Girl in January, the outpouring of support was more than enough to assure she was doing the right thing.
“From the moment I announced it, the outpouring of support, excitement, love and encouragement. These amazing things. And how many people were so jazzed. That’s when I started releasing the fear and started thinking ‘Wow, I actually might be able to do this,’” Clark said.
Clark said, “It was amazing. It was beyond what I ever could imagine. I was so afraid to put myself out there to make the announcement. All those feelings of failure slipped away.”
In just a few hours, Clark had sold 24 dozen bagels -- in half-dozen variety packs with two each of cinnamon raisin, plain and everything bagels.
“The fan favorite from that pack was the cinnamon raisin. There’s just something about these cinnamon raisins that’s just next level. There’s a handful of raisins in each bagel. I throw some cinnamon and sugar on top before they go in the oven,” Clark said.
As of right now, Clark will continue to operate out of the Worcester Regional Food Hub and aims to do as many pop-ups as possible over the course of the year.
Clark is originally from Chesterfield, Mass. and has been working in the Worcester area for the past five or six years. In 2020, Clark appeared on the Food Network's hit competitive cooking show, Chopped. Just two years before that, Clark wont the Judge's Choice award at the Worcester's Best Chef competition.
She hopes to someday soon operate her own food truck to sell handmade bagels and donuts and further down the road sell her bagels wholesale to restaurants and markets.
Clark said, “I think there’s a lot of potential for limitless possibilities which is exciting and terrifying. I really want a food truck, but who knows where this might take me? And I think that’s really an awesome feeling.”