Meet the Willy Wonka of Brooklyn: Eugene J.
Take a tour of his Bushwick shop and you’ll see all kinds of candy concoctions — pinwheel pops, sugar plums, gum balls, bears, boogers, backs and gummies of just about anything you can imagine.
“I feel like I got the Golden Ticket being in this place right now. Tell me about where you get your candies and how do you make them?”
“Candies are sourced from all over the country and internationally, so I saw Long Island, Portland, Boston. We get things from Europe and Australia,” Eugene said.
“How did you get started in this?”
“It was a long journey. I graduated with a chemical engineering degree in 2005 and went straight into a manufacturing company. But I had been making candy on my own since 2000, and I always had it in the back of my mind.”
Now owner of his own candy land, Eugene J. Candy Company, Eugene also curates sweets from other small batch manufacturers across the country — but eventually, he wants that to change and to stock the shelves with mostly his own creations.
“This is your baby, right?”
“This is my baby, the 5J Freaks. So, I guess you could describe them as giant Nerds with textures on them. It’s a seven-hour process just to make it, starting with a small sugar core and growing a shell on it and then after the seven-hour process, you let it sit for a week in holding,” Eugene said.
Consider him a Wonka realist, drawing much of his inspiration from the original book that inspired the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
“It’s just a fun relax to play around in, I suppose,” Eugene said.
He even has his own laboratory in the back, where he’s always coming up with new ideas.
“Can you pull back the curtain, so we can see how your lab works?”
“Right, right, no, I don’t think so. It’s pretty mundane. It’s just, I think it’s like watching paint dry.”