Max Santiago helped start Miami’s fascination with gourmet doughnuts, and now he wants to show America more of what he has in store — starting in Miami.
Santiago, the founding pastry chef of Wynwood’s Salty Donut, will compete on Food Network’s “Best Bakers in America” on May 7, and he used it to announce a new concept for Miami: an all-day doughnut breakfast bar he hopes to open next spring.
What is a doughnut bar, exactly?
Santiago says he will incorporate the 24-hour-raised brioche doughnut recipe he innovated at Salty Donut into savory and sweet dishes at the upcoming restaurant.
Picture: open-faced eggs Benedict on a grilled doughnut. Smoked lox with capers on a cream-cheese glazed “everything” doughnut. A “super food” doughnut with flax seeds, beets, kale and probiotics. Even vegan doughnuts he says you can’t tell from regular doughnuts. (To train, he has created a line of pastries for Atlas Meat-Free Delicatessen in Little Haiti.)
And, of course, there will be the layered sweet doughnut flavors for which he became known.
“I want people to come in daily to get fed and to take home a box of doughnuts,” he said.
But first, he’ll be competing for a little seed money.
Working on more cool new #vegandesserts !!! My first attempt at creating vegan cheese danishes! Still need some more r&d on this but it’s a great first run and so much fun!! Soon to come to @atlasmeatfreedeli #vegan #desserts #cheesedanish #guava #guavaandcheese #chefslife #chefsofinstagram #chefstalk guava complements of @pastelguayaba from our local #redlandguava farms! Best guava in the land! 🙏💪Jorge!
Chef Scott Conant (the sardonic judge from the Food Network show “Chopped”) hosts “Best Bakers in America,” where Santiago will represent Miami against eight other star bakers from across the country. The show pits the bakers against one another for seven episodes, as one chef is eliminated every week.
“It was an amazing experience,” Santiago said. “There’s two reasons I wanted to do it: to overcome my stage fright … and for exposure.”
This isn’t Santiago’s first time baking against the clock on national television.
He and Salty Donut co-founder Andy Rodriguez won Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown in 2016. Santiago created a cannoli doughnut with a whipped ricotta and sweet tomato jam filling, the ends of the log-shaped doughnut dipped in white chocolate and pistachios.
Santiago parted ways with the Salty Donut last year. Since then, Salty Donut co-founder Amanda Pizarro was named to Forbes’ 30-under-30 list and the store announced it is opening a second location in South Miami.