Janet Planet may possibly have the coolest job in the world aka she’s a Willy Wonka expert. Uh huh, that’s exactly what it sounds like – she spends every second of the work day inventing and tasting new candy. Beyond delicious! In addition to being a Wonka candymaker, Planet is also a mechanical engineer and fashion designer (she’s created clothing for Bjork…repeat, Bjork!).
The creative superhero was recently in New York unveiling Wonka’s new Golden Ticket Choco-tabulator. What’s that you say? It’s a 16 x 8 100% straight up magic machine created out of 16,000 pieces of candy (pure chocolate – no snozberries in 2011) and will be on display for the next 3 months in Times Square. Hit it. P.S. The Choco-tabulator is part of an all out truly scrumptious promotion where Nestle will randomly select 5 winners to earn a $100,000 salary for one day of chocolate tasting work. You and your tastebuds up for the job? All you have to do is grab a Wonka bar and look inside for the Golden Ticket.
In between Choco-tabulator madness, Planet took a time out to talk about how she uses mechanical engineering to create the perfect chocolate bar, a typical Wonka work day, and the secret to becoming a Willy Wonka candy maker.
MM: How did you land the coolest job in the universe? CareerBuilder.com find?
Janet Planet: No. My background is in mechanical engineering. Then, I started working in a chocolate factory and I was there for six and a half years. It was one of those things where all roads led to it.
MM: Does your mechanical engineering degree come in handy when creating chocolate?
JP: Absolutely. Design is design is design. I think the best design is a product of both sides of your brain, not just the creative side. My engineering comes into play, for example, when applying a layer of triple caramel to a chocolate bar. Making candy is a balance of knowing how machines work, and bringing Willy Wonka’s personality into everything.
MM: What’s a typical day like in Wonka World?
JP: Every day is completely different. We do all sorts of things at Wonka. Whether it’s creating new vending machines or the new Wonka Choco-tabulator in New York.
MM: What do Willy Wonka headquarters look like? Am imagining cubicle free and a whole lot of purple…
JP: I love purple! Actually, I got married in purple, and drive a purple car. The Wonka office has an open floor plan. There’s a brainstorming room, and lots of oversized candy bars. There’s a good vibe.
MM: How do you invent new chocolate?
JP: We have posters in the office that say “What will Willy Wonka do?” When you’re dreaming up new chocoate, you gotta put the goggles on.
MM: You’re a candy maker…mechanical engineer…fashion designer. What’s your secret to being a creative superhero? Does an endless supply of gobstoppers help?
JP: Well, I never watch TV. I stay busy and creative at Wonka all day. Then at night, my husband and I work on sculptures and print design at our house.
Whether I’m creating candy or working on a sculpture, it’s important to keep the creative momentum going. Instead of stopping then cranking up the machine, then stopping, then cranking up the machine.
MM: Any advice for aspiring Willy Wonka innovators?
JP: Make sure your imagination is well stocked!