Sweet Smell of Success
Megan and Jonathan Pidgeon recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of their successful donut shop, Glazed Donuts,
located in Key West, FL. It’s the southernmost donut shop in the
continental United States. The 800-square-foot space turns out 30-dozen
yeast and cake donuts daily, serving both retail and wholesale clients.
“Everything is made from scratch including the frostings, glazes,
jellies, and even the sprinkles,” Megan says.
She externed under James Beard award winner Richard Leech at Park
Avenue Café and spent two years in the Napa Valley working under James
Beard award winner Nicole Plue. Jonathan has spent time on the
competition BBQ circuit, as a high volume off-premise caterer, and as
executive chef of Blackfin Bistro in Key West, prior to opening Glazed.
The two met as undergrads pursing their associate degrees at the CIA’s Hyde Park campus. Their love affair continued as they completed the bachelor’s program. During her Baking & Pastry Arts Management studies, Megan had the opportunity to work with then Chef-Instructor Francisco Migoya at the Apple Pie Bakery Café.
“Working for him was probably the most influential experience I had at
school. He was really great about making things properly and explaining
the reasoning along the way,” she says. “It was through Chef Migoya’s
blog that I learned about frying laminated dough, which has become an
integral part of our business.”
For Jonathan, a Culinary Arts Management graduate, one of the highlights of his time at the CIA was The Conrad N. Hilton Library.
“It’s just an incredible resource. I read every book on beer, whiskey,
meat, and fish. I think I read more than 500 books,” Jonathan says. They
both agree the education they received at the CIA laid the foundation
for their thriving business. “Nowhere else you can learn so many
techniques in such a short time from people who know how to teach,” Jonathan says.
“At the CIA you learn product identification and how the ingredients
behave and interact. It might sound basic but that kind of knowledge is
vitally important. All the raised donuts we make are affected by weather
and humidity. I learned how to make adjustments to my dough to ensure a
consistent final product,” says Megan. “Completing the bachelor’s
degree gives you a really good perspective on the restaurant industry.
When you graduate from the CIA you can pretty much go into the industry
and do anything.”
Jonathan concurs. “I can read balance sheets and easily gauge our
food cost percentages. I can look at our bank account and orders and
tell how we’re doing business-wise, he explains. “In terms of owning our
business, the bachelor’s degree was invaluable. We do everything from
accounting to employee training to payroll. We can react to changes in
the industry accordingly and, as a result, we’re growing our business
As members of the college’s 48,000+ alumni, Megan and Jonathan can
count on an experienced talent pool when hiring for their business. “By
hiring a CIA graduate, I know they already have the foundation—an
understanding of techniques and the importance of working cleanly and
quickly. In the end, a CIA grad will costs me less time and money to
train,” says Megan. “And the nicest part about hiring a fellow alumnus
is you know they care. It’s their chosen profession and they come with a
diverse and varied background.”
When asked what advice he would give students thinking about
attending the CIA, Jonathan says with a smile, “Realize that you don’t
know anything. Go into school with an open mind and, by all means, check
out the library. It seems like every two years since graduation I’ve
doubled my knowledge. There is just so much to learn and it can only be
learned through hours and hours of repetition. In our industry you never
Happily, business is flourishing for Megan and Jonathan. In 2013, USA TODAY
listed Glazed Donuts as one of the 10 great donut places in the U.S.
Popular Floridian chef Norman Van Aken included the shop in his Insider Guide to Key West Restaurants for Food & Wine magazine.
In an area of the country that boasts nearly perfect weather year
round, Megan and Jonathan are able to choose from a cornucopia of fresh,
tropical fruit for their innovative flavor pairing. “I always have
dough curing in different stages so we’re able to serve fresh donuts all
day long. Some of my most popular include the maple bourbon with
candied bacon, blood orange bulls-eye glazed, tangerine pastry cream
with candied kumquats, and the mango hibiscus,” Megan says. Sweet