Alexandria Nash of Burchies Gourmet Donuts wows customers with decadent and inventive creations, while paying tribute to her beloved late father
Something sinfully sweet and indulgent this way comes. If you find yourself detached from the tangled web that is social media, you’ll be excused from being unaware of the growing sensation that is Burchies Gourmet Donuts.
Brainchild of red seal certified chef Alexandria Nash, Burchies has tapped into the, well, untapped potential and demand of the gourmet donut market on the Avalon with mammoth results.
Sell out orders, lengthy lines of eager patrons and satisfied customers are the common results of a day in the life of Burchies Donuts. But the story behind the sweet success is all the more captivating, and moving.
“I was 14 when my father passed away. So I was pretty young,” shared Nash. “I found that I was not so much sad, but angry at the time. I felt that I had a lot of anger energy. And I was just trying to find a way to burn it without spiraling at 14 years old.”
Nash’s father, Burch Nash, was one of the 17 casualties of the tragic Cougar Helicopter Flight 491 crash of March 12, 2009.
In an effort to cope with an unthinkable loss at an age where change and growth is ever-fluid, Nash turned to the kitchen, and her growing skill as a chef and baker, as an outlet against the grief. “My mom obviously had a very hard time and I tried to do as much as I could through that time to make her feel better. And I knew that my mom has a sweet tooth, so that kind of started with that. And then I found that putting all this energy, I would do cookies and cupcakes and whatever I could bake I would learn to bake, that’s just what I did. I have two older sisters, and the smiles that it would bring to them when I would come out from the kitchen, just to see how much I brought smiles to them at the time, that brought a smile to me and made it a little bit easier.”
Perfecting her craft
Hours spent in the kitchen, putting in the repetitions into perfecting her craft would result in a hobby turning into a true-to-home calling.
“I found that when I would get super angry or super upset or if I just sat down and was asking myself why did this have to happen to me type thing? I try to wipe those negative thoughts and I would just go to the kitchen, find a recipe and I would just put all of my mentality into perfecting that recipe,” Nash shares. “I’d make it 100 times if I had to just to make sure that it came out. I’m very much a perfectionist now because of that,” she said.
“My family knew from the get-go that I was going to be in the food industry,” she adds. “I knew this makes me happy. I love seeing people’s reaction when they see what I make and it’s something I really just thoroughly enjoy. So I felt like when it came to college, I was destined for it essentially.”
Earning her full Red Seal Certification in cooking and after transitioning to valuable culinary experiences post-graduation, Nash decided to take the plunge to become an independent self-employed businesswoman.
Discovering the void in the market for real, decadent and delicious gourmet donuts following customer demand during her home-based Burchwood Bakery days, Nash sought to make Burchies Gourmet Donuts a reality.
“I can’t even count on three or four hands how many people have said they were wishing that there was a place here to actually get a real fried yeast donut,” she explains.
‘Oh my goodness’
“I found a lot of people were just saying oh my goodness, I’m so glad I stumbled upon this. Oh my goodness I’m so excited. I wish you had a storefront. A lot of people are saying how desperate that Newfoundland is for something like this.”
Combining authentic, local and most importantly mouth-watering ingredients with more than a dash of TLC, and Burchie’s has fast become a local favourite.
Nash’s monthly pop-ups at Chinched in downtown St. John’s have routinely sold out weeks in advance, while her custom orders have become an instant hit with consumers. But it’s the intimate, personal touches that have endeared Burchies to customers since day one.
The name itself – while unique at first glance – is a nod to her father, Burch Nash, while signature donuts for the month of March included apple pie – Dad’s favourite – made from Nan’s secret recipe of course.
“My father loved apple pie. I called my grandmother and said I want to put a donut specifically for Dad. I don’t want to do something that’s not capable to make good in a donut style,” she says. “It was her apple pie. I actually got her to give me the recipe.”
Reflecting on the namesake of her booming business, and Nash shares that her father was a man whose qualities are hard to sum-up for pull quotes or tag-lines.
“Me and my father had an amazing, amazing relationship. Like the guy was a free soul, funny. The man was amazing. And his name was Burch, who names their kid Burch? It’s just such a random name, and to hear people say Burchies, I like almost cry every time.”
‘An unreal experience’
With designs on opening a storefront in mind, Burchies Gourmet Donuts has skyrocketed in popularity since its inception last January. Things only look to get sweeter from here for this little-engine-that-could, straight-from-the-heart business.
“My very first pop-up I had people lined up all the way up the street, just waiting to come in and get some of Burchies Donuts,” Nash remarks. “It’s an unreal experience.”
For more on Alexandria Nash & Burchies Donuts visit the official social medias on Facebook and Instagram.