Meet the D.R.E.A.M. Team Behind Small-Batch, Seasonally Driven Doughnuts
Selina Knowles, Communications Coordinator
June 23, 2022
A few years ago, bakers and partners Pamela Augustin and Pauline Pastor had no idea they would be running a thriving doughnut business through Bay Area farmers markets. “It started as a weekend project for Pam and I,” says Pauline. “We were just thinking, ‘Hey, you know, there’s no really great doughnut in Napa,’ and we saw the opportunity to provide something to the community.”
This quest to share quality doughnuts has also become a way for them to showcase staple Filipino flavors. After immigrating to the United States from the Philippines in 2018 to pursue culinary careers, Pauline and Pamela attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in Napa wineries, respectively. With their background in hospitality, high-quality food and service were unquestionable priorities from the start of D.R.E.A.M. Doughnuts in 2020. With a menu rooted in seasonality, they are a perfect fit at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Showcasing the best of the seasons
“I think pastries are really well placed in farmers markets, especially with what we’re doing. We’re trying to promote farm-fresh produce,” says Pauline. All fresh ingredients for D.R.E.A.M. Doughnuts (short for “dough rules everything around me,” a nod to Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.”) are sourced directly from the farmers market, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy.
Pauline and Pam are thrilled by the variety they find at the farmers market. Pauline says, “We come from Manila, and it’s a tropical area. We didn’t have access to berries all the time when we were growing up, not even a lot of citrus choices.”
But being in California provided access to a range of new local produce options to experiment with. “When I first moved here, I didn’t really understand seasonality until a couple of years passed,” Pauline recalls. “Then I was getting it more. Spring, that’s when you see asparagus and the start of berries; summer, stone fruit; and in fall, you see apples. I didn’t really have any semblance of that before coming here and working at the farmers market.”
Though the line at their booth is long and busy, Pauline and Pamela use spare moments on Saturdays to walk around the farmers market and connect with local farmers. Recent flavor inspiration has been found all over the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: strawberries from McGinnis Ranch, blueberries from Triple Delight Blueberries, stonefruit from Kashiwase Farms and K&J Orchards, and apples from Devoto Gardens and Orchards (the cornerstone to D.R.E.A.M.’s iconic apple fritters).
Sharing childhood nostalgia and classic Filipino flavors
When it comes to dreaming up new flavors, the team engages their childhood playfulness and nostalgia to guide them. “I can’t really say we have a rule book about the flavors, but whenever we walk around the farmers market and we see an interesting ingredient, we’re like, ‘Hey, we can do something.’” explains Pauline. “Like with peaches, we can do a peach mango pie, which is really popular back home. We just try to have fun with it.”
Growing up in Asia, Pauline and Pamela had access to different ingredients, which they now enjoy sharing with the Bay Area. Pauline says, “I know a lot of people who visit the farmers market are of the same ethnicity as us, and it’s great when we bring something that has a tie to something we enjoyed as kids. People are always like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you have this, I haven’t had this in like 10 years.”
One of their signature offerings, the Ooh Baby doughnut, is an ube (purple yam) doughnut that has an ube filling, ube glaze, and ube milk crumbs. “Ube is present everywhere when you grow up in the Philippines. You have halo halo during summer, and there’s a big dollop of ube jam on top, and ube ice cream is a mainstay,” Pauline reminisces. “It’s kind of the taste of childhood.”
Promoting diversity and integrity
While showcasing the best of each season and sharing nostalgic delights, D.R.E.A.M. Doughnuts keeps diversity at the forefront of their work. “We’re an immigrant-owned, female-owned, BIPOC-owned business. Of course, because it’s so integral to who we are, our company also values those things,” says Pauline. From hiring staff of diverse backgrounds to featuring flavors from around the world, D.R.E.A.M. demonstrates how shared love for good food is unifying.
Bringing the best of what they have to offer has also been important to the team. Pauline says “We wouldn’t make something that we wouldn’t eat ourselves or serve our families. Coming from a hospitality background, you just don’t want to put something up that you’re not proud of. We try to embody that on an everyday basis.”
Baking outside the (doughnut) box
You won’t be disappointed if you visit D.R.E.A.M. Doughnuts on Saturday for a sweet, fried dough round, ranging from Calamansi Meringue Pie to Bart’s Dad (with sprinkles, of course), but you may be pleasantly surprised by the array of savory pastries and danishes you’ll also find. From adobo danishes to takoyaki pastries, D.R.E.A.M. Doughnuts tries to bring the unexpected to the farmers market, and beyond.
D.R.E.A.M. is of the featured food makers at the upcoming Foodwise Summer Bash on July 10, and Pauline offered a sneak peek of what seasonal produce they will be showcasing. “Corn has a really big place in Philippine culture in desserts, actually. I like how we’re able to show people how we can do it in the sweet way, because corn is commonly used in a savory way here. I’m excited to see people get shocked by it or get excited by it, or maybe some will wince or find it weird,” she says with a laugh. “But, we welcome all kinds of reactions.”
Visit D.R.E.A.M. Doughnuts at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Topics: Food makers