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Meet the Chef Behind the 24K Gold Doughnut

by Stephanie Giang /
The Golden Cristal Ube Donut at Manila Social Club in Brooklyn, New York, costs $100.
The Golden Cristal Ube Donut at Manila Social Club in Brooklyn, New York, costs $100.Stephanie Giang / NBC News

At Manila Social Club in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, Bjorn DelaCruz wants customers to have a unique dining experience — a desire reflected in one of his most extravagant menu additions yet: a 24K gold doughnut.

Every single Golden Cristal Ube Donut is handmade with fine ingredients, starting with Cristal champagne and ube, a sweet purple yam indigenous to the Philippines often found in desserts.

DelaCruz’s doughnut is filled with an ube mousse and Cristal champagne jelly, and finished with 24K gold dust and gold leaf, each carefully hand-gilded to create a “dynamic piece of art,” DelaCruz told NBC News.

The executive chef of Manila Social Club, DelaCruz describes his take on Filipino food as “inventive yet nostalgic.”

But the driving force behind the Golden Cristal Ube Donut, DelaCruz said, was personal. “Family is a big part,” DelaCruz said. “When I’m talking about Filipino cuisine, there’s never food without the people, or people without the food.”

He adds that each family and staff member of Manila Social Club has played an important role at the restaurant, and the 24K gold doughnut was intended as a special gift for his loved ones.

“That’s what this doughnut is for: to celebrate everybody and thank them for everything they have done and sacrificed,” he said.

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