The Gothamist goes inside Jacques’ famed BAT factory.
Sai Mokhtari writes, “In the 15 years since he debuted his beloved DUMBO shop, Jacques Torres has dominated the New York City chocolate scene, opening up fancy boutique shops all over the city and taking over an enormous 40,000-square-foot factory in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Yesterday, photographer Sai Mokhtari got a tour around the facility by the man himself, who whistled as he approached the tour group on his motorized scooter. If ever there was a case for a real-life Willy Wonka, this cheerful, passionate Frenchman would be he.”
Torres moved into the Sunset Park space in 2013, transferring all the manufacturing of his chocolates, pastries, ice creams and other confections under the one roof. In addition to the production of the food, the space also serves as a hands-on classroom for students at theInternational Culinary Center, at which Torres serves as Dean of Professional Pastry Arts. Students spend 600 hours inside the building, learning from the man himself.
If only our college professors were as jolly! “He’s really such a good natured, humble guy, not an ounce of ego—even though frankly, he has a right to one,” Mokhtair gushed. “He struck me as a happy, almost giddy man. Excited to share his passion with everyone.” That passion began as a boy in France, where his mother would buy giant blocks of chocolate from the store, bits of which Torres would “sneak under the table and savor them in secret,” as he tells it.
For him, chocolate was, and is, a simple pleasure, something that should be accessible to people of all ages and tastes—even babies. During the tour, Torres explained the origin of his chocolate-covered cereal treats, having once seen a mother comfort a baby with a handful of Cheerios.
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