Morgan Hipworth is not your average 16 year old. As well as being in Year 11 and working towards VCE, Morgan runs his own doughnut shop and pretty much has the monopoly on Instagramable doughnuts.
Have you always been into baking and cooking?
I started cooking when I was seven and that came about from watching MasterChef. That’s how it started. I used to set up the front room as a restaurant and I called it Bistro Morgan, which is where the name of the shop comes from. On my weekends I used to make three course meals for my family and I’d print menus and score cards.
How did you come up with your dishes? Did you use cookbooks?
Yeah, cookbooks and I’d replicate things I had seen on tv. I slowly moved onto different things. I started doing cake orders for family birthdays and then we had what we called ‘cakes and sweets days’ in our garage. We used to invite all our friends and family. I used to do karate, so people from there. I’d set up a little espresso machine and make coffee. The day before I’d have made 500 – 600 pieces. Everyone was really helpful and would come along and support me.
I kept cooking and got in the top 300 of Junior MasterChef when I was nine and kept going. Then when I was 13 we went to a café and got chatting to the owner and she said I should bring my cakes down there and supply them. Then one thing led to another and I started making all their cakes and then they asked me to make doughnuts and it went from there.
What do you think it is about doughnuts that makes them so popular?
I think they’ve gone through a big change. Everyone loves a good doughnut. There was a phase where they went through this massive commercialisation with Krispy Kreme and things like that and they became pretty shitty. I think people really value getting a good doughnut now.
What makes a good doughnut?
Real ingredients. Real butter, real eggs. Made from scratch. A lot of places use pre-mix, which is a lot cheaper but it’s not worth it. You need good toppings. We use real chocolate. I don’t think there’s another doughnut place in Melbourne that uses real chocolate. They use chocolate glazes. The only time we use a glaze is for vanilla glaze. Most of our toppings are white or dark chocolate.
How did you work all that out?
I don’t know. I have a knack with food, I guess. I’ve been doing it since I was seven and I’ve always loved going out to restaurants and cafes. I’ve always baked bread and even though I’d never made doughnuts before when the café asked me to make them, they’re not too dissimilar to bread. I had a good idea on how to make bread and the yeast dough is quite similar.
Did you strike on your recipe straight away or was it a process?
I slowly adapted it. The first one I did was love-shaped doughnuts for Valentine’s Day. I literally just found the recipe on taste.com for love heart shaped doughnuts. I made them and then slowly changed it. Our dough is now made the day before so that it has a chance to ferment overnight and added a bit more sugar. Eventually I got them how I wanted them.
You’re such a success story. I imagine there’d be plenty of kids who play at having a shop and you went from your garage to having your own shop. That’s a big deal.
It’s a big step up. It’s hard work. It’s not as easy as it looks.
You’re in Year 11?
How do you manage everything?
With not much sleep. I was just doing some Maths homework before I spoke to you. I have to utilise every spare moment. I don’t have any time off.
So the shop is open during the week. Do you cook the night before?
No, we have full-time staff now. We have a baker who comes in every morning at 5am. We have decorators who come in too.
So you’d have to train them up on your way of doing things.
Yeah, but although I’m not as hands on with the baking any more, there is so much more paperwork now. It has moved a lot more into behind the scenes stuff.
What would you prefer to be doing?
Oh it’s a nice balance now. I still do some hands on stuff. This morning I came in and decorated the doughnuts. But I couldn’t physically be here doing it all. Because the doughnuts need to be fresh and made that morning, I couldn’t be here before school getting up at 4am and then going to school.
Do you come up with the flavours?
Yes, we change our flavours every week; every Sunday. I’ll work on that on a Thursday or Friday night.
Is it hard to come up with a whole new week’s worth of flavours every week?
Our neighbour just came in this morning and said, oh, they’re good this week. As I said to him, this week’s flavours probably took an hour to an hour and a half to think about. It’s not as simple as it looks. You have to have a nice amount of all the different flavours; enough caramel, enough chocolate, enough Nutella. And also because we do wholesale, like for Royal Stacks, I have to look at what particular flavours they have and work in with that. We don’t want to have too many flavours on the go; it needs to be streamlined. We can’t do ten of this and ten of that, we need to be making 100 of this and 100 of that. So it takes me a while to organise it all. Normally it takes me about half an hour but this week it took me over an hour. We do bring our favourites back, like the Golden Gaytime is our most popular.
I guess you can’t just think about what would make a great flavour but it has to have viable costings too.
Obviously some are going to cost a lot more to make and some will cost less so it balances out. The plain jam ones aren’t going to cost as much as an Easter bunny one.
So you’ve got a shop. Do you have plans for more or will you just get through school and see what happens?
I’ve worked out hat I have six terms of school left…I’m not counting down at all. Soon it’ll be days…[laughs] I’ll just keep going and see what happens. Who knows what a year will make? Last year I didn’t even think I could have a shop.
It’s a real family affair, isn’t it, with your mum helping out in the shop?
Yes. We don’t get much rest. My dad is at home doing all the bookwork right now; the GST and the tax for the end of the financial year. So we’re getting everyone involved. It’s good.
But I’d like to have other food businesses; my own café or restaurant. I have a few things in the back of my mind.
Well done. Melbourne is a hard city to crack.
The good thing is that now I’ve had some experience in it.
For sure. And you’ve made a name for yourself. Everyone knows of your doughnuts. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Yes it is. We had a guy in from Hawaii. He’s just in Melbourne on holiday and he became a regular. He used to come in and buy a six-pack every day. He went traveling up to Queensland and Byron Bay and he just came back and said that when he mentioned me, they all knew who I was, even in Brisbane. People had seen me on the news. So that’s pretty cool. We’re getting lots of opportunities. I just had my photo posted on the CEO of Instagram’s page, Kevin Systrom. He’s got 1.4 million followers.
You must feel pretty proud of yourself.
It’s cool. It’s good fun. I never thought it’d be like that.
190 High Street, Windsor