Father and daughter duo Arlyn and Jill Sturwold open Edmonton’s newest doughnuttery
It’s not the most common way to inspect a doughnut, but Arlyn Sturwold and his daughter Jill like to point out the state of their dunkers’ “tan lines”—the deep golden colour on the top and bottom of the pastry, with the unblemished near-porcelain-white separating them in a ring around the middle.
No they’re not really crazy, just deeply passionate about their product.
It began when Jill went to Toronto for a business trip. Always one to make a point of finding the “hidden gems” in a city, she searched the streets of Toronto for the next one.
Eventually, Jill was indirectly pointed in the direction of a doughnut shop, with rumours of treasures inside. She fell in love upon the first bite of that Toronto-made gourmet lemon doughnut. Jill took pictures to send to her dad, a baker by trade, and went on a self-proclaimed “doughnut journey” to discover further delights.
“I just kept travelling and trying other people’s doughnuts,” she laughs. “The talk of it just never let up after that. It sort of sparked that we could make a business plan out of this.”
It was only a year and half later that they opened the doors of Destination Doughnuts in November 2017. Her father Arlyn ran Garneau Bakery for several years and later taught at NAIT’s Baker Apprentice program, so he certainly has the skills. After working as a pipefitter for roughly 11 years since last baking commercially, he suddenly found himself slightly nervous.
“I didn’t want to open and then fall flat on my face,” Arlyn jokes.
It only took a day or two to fall back into his process—something he likens to riding a bike.
Though Arlyn doesn’t like to use the word ‘retire,’ that’s effectively where he was at in his life. However, he wasn’t ready to accept that daily pace just yet. Arlyn mentions a saying he read, which propelled the duo to follow through with the shop despite their nerves: “Nobody should die with music still in their heart.”
“Jill wasn’t ready to just work Monday to Friday … and I wasn’t ready to sit on the acreage and watch the leaves turn green,” Arlyn says.
Another saying the Sturworlds take stock in is: “Everything is good in moderation—including moderation.”
Their flavours are certainly no Tim Horton’s hack and rotate in no particular order. With specialties like, Triple Play (chocolate ganache-dipped topped with Lay’s chips, Skor bits, Hickory Sticks, and a caramel drizzle) or Tiger Paw (orange icing-dipped with licorice stripes).
Not all their flavours are strictly sweet. They also roll out the odd savoury doughnut, like the Bacon Double Cheese (cheesy-dipped and sprinkled with bacon bits, finished off with a coin of crispy-baked cheddar).
If those don’t strike your fancy, they also take custom orders. Often the Sturwolds will try out a new flavour idea by frying up some doughnut holes for a texture and flavour test for customers to sample.
“If it tastes good among us, and they like it, we often could be running a new flavour or combination by the next day,” Jill says.
Situated on the sunny west side of 124 Street just off 106 Avenue, Destination Doughnuts features free parking in front, making it easy for customers to leave with a boxful of gourmet doughnuts under their arm.
The Sturwolds plan to explore vegan options in the future. Arlyn goes into great depth on the subject, explaining the chemistry of a doughnut and how “each of the five parts play a vital role in making the perfect, fluffy doughnut.”
His daughter, visibly done with the ad nauseum science talk, changes the subject and says that, for now, the next concoction on their horizon is a matcha marvel.
10548 124 St.