Mike Simpson has been a certified executive chef for 30 years.
Growing up in Seymour, he has started multiple businesses in Jackson County.
He also has traveled the country, learning new ideas and teaching as a certified instructor for ServSafe, a regulating entity for all chefs and all businesses.
He has had many titles during his career in the culinary business, but now, he has a new one: “The Donut Chef.”
As The Donut Chef returned to his hometown of Seymour earlier this year, he went into business with Brandy and Will Smith. They were all present for the recent grand opening of Humble Donut Co., Seymour’s newest pastry shop at 524 E. Tipton St. connected with Orange Leaf.
“When I came back in January, I was looking for something unique, something out of the ordinary,” Simpson said.
“The doughnut business, I met Brandy and Will early and just stayed interested and talked to them about the whole concept of having a small, mini cake doughnut,” he said. “Over what I’ve seen in other doughnut shops traveling across the country, there are always yeast-based with a bunch of fillings and toppings, but there’s always room for a gimmick. This is a perfect gimmick because we’re in a society in any country or any state where people love doughnuts.”
Humble Donut’s mini doughnuts are freshly made in the store. As the doughnuts come through, they will then get dipped into whatever type of frosting or glazing the customer wants. Any toppings can be added on, and as a result, you get handed a warm doughnut that savors the mouth.
“You can make it as guilty as you want, and that’s what I like about it,” Simpson said. “You can be your own originator in here, whether it’s doughnuts or yogurt or protein shakes. It’s all fresh and cooked to order. It just works, and that’s what people are coming after. They want originality.”
Being in the same location as Orange Leaf is something Humble Donut Co. thinks can be an advantage. Both of them provide the ability to create your own sweet treat.
Simpson has seen some people come in, order a doughnut and then go get some frozen yogurt and combine it all into one.
“It usually satisfies everybody. It’s just unlimited. Some of the customers coming in will get yogurt, and then put the doughnut in the middle or on top and make their own little doughnut float, so yeah, it’s a gimmick. It works good.” Simpson said. “It’s nice to see us tied in with the Orange Leaf movement because it’s a growing business also.”
The flavors and options at Humble Donut are endless. There are the classic flavors everyone knows and loves, and there also is the chance to get as creative or wacky as you want.
Simpson brought up a jalapeno cheddar doughnut. As weird as it sounds, some people are interested to try that kind of stuff.
Humble Donut provides boxes of three, six, 12, 18 and 36. You can mix and match however many of which doughnut you want in each box, too.
“We’ve got an unlimited marketplace over here,” Simpson said. “You don’t want people to feel miserable when they leave. We want them to want more, but we want them to be satisfied enough that you’re going to tell people about it.”
Humble Donut also sells coffee and milk. It has a home brew made in Jackson County and also gets its milk and chocolate milk from local dairy farms. Local has been a key part for Simpson in all of this.
“Trying to keep all our vendors local,” he said. “Brandy and Will are from Brownstown, so we’re all from the area. It makes for a nice environment.”
Being back in Jackson County has been one of the best parts of all of this.
“I want to be back home now since I’m from Seymour,” Simpson said. “I’ve met so many people I’ve grown up with, and now, I’m meeting younger people and seeing what they’re out there going after. It’s always fascinating to me.”
Humble Donut has been officially open to the public for more than a week, and it has been a big success so far.
The tiny, fresh, tasty doughnuts have brought a unique flavor, both literally and figuratively, to Jackson County.
“It’s a new franchise, it’s one of a kind and we have nowhere to go but up,” Simpson said. “Who turns down a doughnut, right?”