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Hidden Gems: Meet Alejandro Contreras of Tepuy Doughnuts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alejandro Contreras.

Alejandro, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I went to culinary school in Venezuela when I was 16, and I started working in professional kitchens as soon as I graduated as a cook. During my free time, I was always experimenting and baking at home. I was trying to figure out a way to start my own business that I was passionate about without having to go through the troubles and experiences of opening up a restaurant. Doughnuts seemed like the best option, so I began teaching myself how to make them after a lot of research and trial and error attempts. I moved to Argentina when I was 20 years old and started selling my doughnuts to local coffee shops there. After living there for five years, I moved to Raleigh when I was 25. I met Jimmy Bellew who had also just recently moved to Raleigh with his own goal of opening up a coffee shop. Idle Hour Coffee was the first place in Raleigh that I started selling my doughnuts in. This opportunity led me to be able to prepare doughnuts for catering orders, as well as sell doughnuts to other local shops in the triangle. I’m 27 now and am looking forward to what’s next.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
This process has been a roller coaster. One of the first challenges was changing my lifestyle and skillset when I went from being a cook to a baker. I went to culinary school to be a cook but self-taught the art of baking and specializing in donuts. I have also had to overcome my own personal struggles and bad habits to be able to find the strength to run a business all by myself. A struggle that is still difficult for me is that my job requires me to be a morning person to make all the doughnuts for the day.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I specialize in making handcrafted sourdough doughnuts with quality that you can’t find anywhere else. I am constantly creating new and unique flavors that keep customers coming back. My doughnuts are set apart from others because of the techniques that I have developed myself over the years and that they are made daily. The doughnuts are fluffy with a nice texture and made with the best ingredients I can get. I am proud of the fact that I have started and managed this business all by myself. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s part of my brand and what makes me directly connected to each person that tries one of my doughnuts.

How do you think about luck?
I don’t really believe in luck when it comes to success. In my experience, hard work equals success. There is a lot of hard work that has gone into this business behind the scenes that people don’t see, like moving to the U.S. and waking up early everyday to make it work. I do feel lucky to have met the people that I have during this journey and to be in a place where I am able to pursue what I’m passionate about doing.


  • Regular donuts $3
  • Filled donuts $4
  • Cinnamon rolls $4
  • Letter shaped donuts $2,50

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Marissa McHugh

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