Knowingly or unknowingly, the many locals and visitors who visit QVM daily and join the queue for a packet of freshly fried dough balls are savouring a recipe which has accompanied the 130 year old Market since 1950.
Customers still remember the hot jam-filled treats introduced by two old men at the their doughnut stall on the western side of Queen Street 62 years ago. Arnold Bridges and David Christie were mates in the wood yard who knew absolutely nothing about making doughnuts.
They bought a recipe, built two mobile doughnut kitchens and just dived headlong into making the business work. The hard work included taking the doughnuts to regional shows around country Victoria and to footy crowds at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. What started as a treat had become a market staple for 3 generations of customers.
Today, American Doughnut Kitchen is a Melbourne institution where one of the original doughnut kitchen continues to serve customers as part of the QVM landscape. The doughnut tradition is continued by Julie Boening, her brother Peter and Christie's son, David. They still make the doughnuts fresh everyday based on the original secret family recipe.
I enjoy heading into QVM before 7am to avoid the queues of families and kids, and watch the staff roll, cut and fry up batches of dough in the van, before sinking my teeth into one of the hot, sugar-dusted dumplings which are crispy on the outside and soft and slightly chewy with raspberry jam on the inside, accompanied by a cup of java from the nearby Market Lane.
I remember when each doughnut was just AUD0.60 or AUD0.70 when I first visited QVM in 2005. Although prices have inflated over the years, where else can you get a cheap and decent portion of doughnut for AUD1 in Melbourne. I'm surprised they haven't ended up as Christmas deserts at someone's festive party. So the next time you're at QVM, enjoy biting into a hot piece of history.