Introducing Phi-K Doughnuts

CALGARY, Alberta – Calgary is the hotbed for doughnut shops ranging from the basics at Tim Hortons all the way up to the 2nd-tier units that you can grab at Contemporary Jelly Doughnuts and the new Hula Hoop offerings from the makers of Fill and Bastians coffee. But just when you think that doughnuts cannot get any better, a pair of former oil and professionals have created the most high-tech doughnuts on the market.

Introducing Phi-K Doughnuts (PKD), a Calgary-based boutique doughnut shop founded by a former reservoir engineer and petroleum geologist who claim that, “if you want good tasting product, it all starts with fully understanding the matrix and fluid properties and ensuring technical excellence around optimizing flavour production and maximizing smile-based recovery factor.

Alix Renudson, P.Eng., former reservoir engineer

“A doughnut is much more than just a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape of a ring, and sometimes stuffed with some form of filling. We believe that they can be modelled as smaller scale petroleum reservoirs with porosity, connected permeability, a number of various fluid saturations and recovery mechanisms. Keeping this in mind, coupled with our combined 17 years of reservoir engineering and geoscience experience, we are creating doughnuts that are far superior to anything else you’ve ever seen because they are excellent on a technical basis.” – Mikael Striffer, P.Geol., co-founder Phi-K Doughnuts

Alix Renudson, P.Eng., the company’s co-founder and former professional reservoir engineer spoke to 2P News about the genesis of the idea. “So one day I was complaining to Mikael about a Hula donut that I had bought for $3.75 that was average in size but lighter than a feather. I joked that this thing must have 95% porosity. And BOOM!! That’s when the light bulb went off for us!”

According to the PKD’s investment prospectus, the company hand-crafts doughnuts at midnight for the following day using a series of secret recipes that result in doughnuts of varying shapes defined by zero-edge pinch-outs and porosities that do not exceed 35% (to maintain a good ‘mouth feel and bite’). The baked products are then fed through a secondary diagenetic process that introduces faults, unnatural fracturing, and in the process forms varying horizontal and vertical permeabilities.

Unlike typical filled doughnuts whose filling is put into the a cavity in the middle of the unit, PKD injects fillings of various viscosities into the cake sponge in a way that it travels through the connected pore throats and more uniformly distributes throughout the cake. “We try out best to keep our kv/kh to under 10% in an effort to get areal custard sweep efficiencies in the 70 to 80% range,” the document stated. “We also take core samples using ordinary straws over 70% of every 20th filled unit to verify filling saturations and to look for any high-perm streaky channels that may have formed.” The company also experimented with fresh strawberry and raspberry filling but had to stop when they saw that the seeds would block the pore throats.

Jelly breakthrough showing uniform permeability through this sample doughnut sponge.

PKD plans to have its grand opening on the May long weekend and it will hit the streets with 2 food trucks serving up the 3 marquee offerings.

Bioturbation Cream
This doughnut’s custard filling is distributed through a series of channels created by benthic fauna and flora introduced after the baking stage. The microorganisms are not removed from the finished product, but are rendered benign through the thermal maturing process.

Leaky Basement
This multi-layer package has a 30-35% porosity upper interval that sits atop a shale-like very brittle caramel lower layer. It is filled with a jam that drips out of the bottom after the caramel brittle is hit with a hammer just before being served.

Apple Fracker
The unconventional cake in this doughnut initially has zero porosity and permeability. But once frozen, a metal tube with 4 to 6 entry-point stages is forced into the middle of the piece before a 200 centipoise apple sauce containing spherical proppant sprinkles is forced into the nozzle in excess of the frozen sponge’s formation parting pressure. This results in a stimulated sponge volume whose fractured voids contain the delicious fresh apple filling.

Phi-K plans to ultimately offer 15 varieties by summer time including one that is injected with 2 fillings with different viscosities thereby taking advantage of relative permeability effects to offer a different experience with every bite.

[Editor’s Note: I, personally, am looking forward to eating them all. Alix asked me if I can help with a tagline for the company and I recommended, “Phi-K Doughnuts – They are phi-k’ing good!”]


    • Okay, Kate. I’ve just about had enough of you and your constructive feedback. If you’re so good, why don’t you write for us? Kate Forney at 2P News – has a nice ring to it.


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