It takes a certain amount of imagination and confidence to create a doughnut with Fruity Pebbles cereal and bergamot Earl Grey tea. But that’s just what baker Korilee Connelly brings to the sweets menu at Mo’s Lunch in Oak Bluffs. When you pick up your order at Mo’s inside the Portuguese-American Club, you’ll spot Korilee moving quickly behind the countertop piled high with cookies, brownies and bars – measuring, whisking, and slicing up her sweet treats with a smile.

Her friendly demeanor and whimsical flavors don’t reveal the secret to her baking success: hard work and attention to detail. “When people look at sweets they assume they’re easy to make, but in reality there are a million steps,” she says. “But anything that is worth it shouldn’t be easy.” Making fillings, sauces, and her own flavored sugars from scratch are just a few of the elements Korilee incorporates into her daily rotation of sweets.

The Edgartown native began working in Island restaurants in the front of the house in high school and moved to San Francisco after graduation. There Korilee embraced the city’s food scene. “The banana cream pie at Tartine changed my life!” she says with a smile.

Korilee returned to the Vineyard and went to work at Morning Glory Farm, eventually becoming the farmstand manager. After work Korilee would go home and bake for fun and to de-stress. “I baked everything I could,” she says. “I can always be better, always improve this or that, and that was what was exciting to me. There were zero limits.”

When the head baker position at Morning Glory Farm opened up, Korilee asked for the job. Her hard work and eagerness to learn everything she could about both pastry and bread paid off. She remained head baker for six years, overseeing a baking program that produced 3,500 pieces a day, including baked goods, yeast breads, and quick breads. Korilee became accustomed to a 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule, with the bakery running 24 hours a day during the summer months.

“When you love what you’re doing you don’t think about it [the hours] as much. Every day is a challenge,” notes Korilee. And the seasonal farm produce sparked Korilee’s creativity, inspiring daily scone flavors and muffins topped with different flavored salts and sugars.

But when Chef Austin Racine and Maura Martin arrived at Nomans restaurant in 2019 and asked Korilee to bake for them on her days off, she couldn’t resist. Her work ethic persisted: She would leave Morning Glory at 4 p.m. and then bake for Nomans at night, four days a week – including her days off. When the pandemic hit and Austin and Maura opened Mo’s at the Portuguese-American Club, they offered Korilee a full-time job as head baker.

Korilee revels in the total creative freedom she has at Mo’s. “Austin and Maura trust me and it’s amazing to be in an environment of trust and respect,” she says. “The energy in the kitchen is amazing.” Working alone, Korilee is responsible for every baked item except the sourdough bread – Austin’s specialty. A normal day for Korilee starts at 6 a.m. preparing cookie dough. And on Fridays, her day starts with prep for the 200 doughnuts sold only on Saturdays. Korilee uses a brioche dough base that needs to rise one day ahead. On Saturday mornings Korilee is at Mo’s by 5 a.m., rolling, cutting, and proofing the doughnuts before frying and filling them. This time-intensive process “makes the texture so much better,” Korilee says. “It makes the donut ‘floofy!’” Don’t expect to see a plain glazed doughnut on the baking rack. Korilee creates unusual flavors every week that are often seasonally inspired. “With rhubarb in season I knew I wanted to make a strawberry-rhubarb jam to fill one of the doughnuts,” she says. Sprinkles and edible flowers are two of her trademarks. “And I love a crumble and crunchy toppings on anything,” she says. She also likes to use fruit sauces, such as a raspberry coulis.

Korilee lets her creativity dictate the menu but customers will always find her staples: chocolate chip cookies, brownies, a bar and a pie. She uses locally-sourced ingredients whenever she can, and she buys her flour from King Arthur Flour and Maine Grains, which is milled in New England. The key lime pie has become a customer favorite (baked in a pastry crust rather than a graham cracker crust), and she has more cream and fruit pie flavors planned for the summer months. Korilee also makes gluten-free treats like coconut macaroons and brownies and dairy-free gingersnaps and double-chocolate cookies.

Off the clock, Korilee would choose a piece of foie gras over a sweet, she says, although she can’t resist a good cream puff or a spoonful of salted ganache. She indulges her savory side at l’étoile, The Sweet Life and The Covington when she has a night off. Even her hobby reveals her sweet and salty side: Korilee makes custom charcuterie boards as well as custom cakes through her website,

One thing is for certain: Expect the unexpected when you see the daily sweets list at Mo’s. Korilee is committed to letting her creativity and daily inspiration drive the menu. “You have to leave something up to mystery in this world,” she says with a laugh.

Laura Holmes Haddad is a freelance writer living in West Tisbury.

Mo’s Lunch is currently open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Opening on Mondays as well during the summer.