This Candy Chemist Is Making Wonka-Inspired Candy in Bushwick


Engineering usually brings to mind complicated math equations and intricate experiments that are most likely to go way over your head. But when Brooklyn candy shop owner Eugene J. was going to school to become a chemical engineer, he found a much more exciting use for his education: candy.

Using trial and error, Eugene would create intricate candy recipes with lab equipment he took home from class. Fast forward to today, and he’s living out his (and practically every child’s) dream as the owner of Bushwick’s Eugene J. Candy Candy Co., his gingerbread house-inspired shop where he sells his own candy, made in the shop’s custom candy laboratory.

With slanted shelves packed with sweets, dreamy music playing from above, and fake icing lining the walls, Eugene’s shop feels like a Candy Land game board come to life right in the middle of Brooklyn.

Taking inspiration from Roald Dahl novels, Eugene’s premiere creation is a reconfigured Nerds-type candy called F.G. Freaks -- named after Fickelgruber, one of Willy Wonka’s rival chocolatiers in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The hard candy is sold next to other products from small-batch candy makers across the country, though Eugene tells Thrillist he eventually hopes to develop more original candy creations and fill his shelves with only his recipes.

To find out more about the shop and Eugene’s journey to becoming a candy chemist, check out the video above.

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Ciera Velarde is an editorial production assistant at Thrillist whose favorite candy is Swedish Fish. Follow her on Instagram.