Have you ever watched someone do something they’re really, really good at? I mean not just proficient, but someone who is really skilled at their craft? It could be anything … playing the piano, painting, cutting hair … it doesn’t really matter what the action is but the elements of excellence are always the same: an efficiency of movement, a command of space, a mastery of tools, a confidence in themselves and always, always a dedication to standards that the untrained eye might miss but that they hold themselves too nonetheless. All of these are earned through countless hours of practice and they cannot be faked.
I had that experience this morning. I rode my bike down Haywood road at first light. It was a little foggy and I still had some sleep in my eyes but I was psyched! My girlfriend had pedaled down the same stretch of pavement about 30 minutes ahead of me to open up Hole, her doughnut shop in West Asheville. When I made the last turn and coasted down the little slope, I could see the string of bulb lights and the warm glow that mirrored the same excitement I felt inside. Bon Appetit was coming today!
Before I pushed open the door to inside, I flashed back to the first time I came to Asheville to visit her. Though I had a really late flight, we got up a few hours later and she let me shadow her at work. (Mostly I sipped coffee, gorged myself on fresh doughnuts and watched her do her thing. And then I ate more doughnuts. You’ve been to Hole before, right? If so, you know what I mean when I say you probably can’t just eat one … ) Anyway, that’s a morning I won’t soon forget. The moment she turned the key in the door it was like watching a dance unfold; coffee, bap-bap, lights on, skiddle-de-bap-bap, water for dishes, bap-a-doo, cooler door, bap-bap, little hip check to shut the door, bap, bap… She had the whole thing down pat. She made it look easy and fun. And she hadn’t even started shaping the doughnuts yet! It was the first time I saw her in her element and I was in awe of her from the get-go; I still am today. Maybe even more so since I’m learning a lot more about what goes on behind the scenes.
Anyway, today was a special day for her and Hole. Bon Appetit had emailed her a few weeks ago and asked if they could do a video in her shop and today was the day! I’ve always loved watching other people work with cameras because there is always something new to learn and this was no different. But it was extra special because of who and what the subjects were. She was as humble as ever and answered the questions posed to her about her process with the thoroughness and patience that I have come to know and love.
It feels important to me to write all of this out because Caroline is extremely humble and she probably won’t even tell anyone that one of the coolest food publications in the world was at her place today. But I am allowed to brag about her all I want. And I will! So, keep checking back on the website at www.bonappetit.com to see what the final video looks like. I know I will.
In the meantime, ride your bike on over to Hole. Hit your brakes when you see the baby blue truck out front and make sure you order one of every flavor. Get ‘em while they’re hot, y’all.
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