Photography by Jeff Hunt
There's a dude in the Mission who makes vegan donuts and break-dances.
In this episode, we meet Vandor Hill. Vandor was born and raised in The City. He recently turned 40. He shares the story of how he came to love baking. It starts in the predominantly female house he grew up in.
Surrounded by his grandma and aunt, Vandor says a lot of his baking went uncredited. No one believed that he was the one who made whatever delicious treat they were eating. Peach cobbler soon became his signature bake.
Vandor shares the story of why his company is called Whack Donuts. It involves a group of young kids getting jumped in the Mission and the quiet one (Vandor) basically fending off the attackers. His buddies called him "Whacko" from that point on.
As part of the story of starting his donut business, Vandor takes us back to a tough period in his life. Between 2017 and 2019, he lost his grandmother, his mom, his aunt, a mentor, and a friend. His dancing suffered. His work wasn't willing to adjust or allow him space to grieve. His living situation deteriorated. And then, the pandemic hit.
We get into the early days of Whack Donuts and talk about why Vandor decided to make his product without any dairy. The story goes back to an internship he had in high school at a local donut shop. Eventually, enough people asked if the donuts were vegan, which inspired Vandor to bake his treats rather than fry them.
Check back Thursday for Part 2, when Vandor shares stories about his family and his early days.
We recorded this podcast at Abanico Coffee Roasters in the Mission in April 2022.