8.19.2016

Interview with Joseph Villegas, Toronto Popcorn Company


If you are ever near Toronto's Kensington Market, be sure to make a trip to Toronto Popcorn Company. It is gourmet popcorn at its finest. With approximately 100 different flavours, there's something for everyone. 
The popcorn here is seriously decadent, and it is no surprise that they're a hot commodity at The Toronto International Film Festival. 
Once you try some of their flavours, you'll never look at popcorn the same way again. 

We recently tried some of their bestsellers, and had the opportunity to chat with Joseph Villegas, Co-owner of Toronto Popcorn Company. 
Keep reading to learn more!
Toronto Popcorn Company is a family business started by a young family who followed their dreams and came to Canada in 2011 from the Philippines.
From humble beginnings in 2013, traveling to festivals around Ontario offering homemade popcorn (from an old-fashioned popcorn maker), Toronto Popcorn Company has grown to offer close to 100 unique and gourmet popcorn flavours, and a flagship location in the heart of Toronto, Kensington Market.

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about Toronto Popcorn Company? How did it start? 
Joseph Villegas: It started as a one-kettle, weekender affair - pretty much just to make something on the side. However, over the course of the first two months it evolved into something else. We started with 20 flavors. Then 30. Then 50. What used to be a pop-up shop became a brick-and-mortar. We now have more or less 100 combined staple and seasonal flavors. 
We caught the attention of an engagement group doing a huge project for TIFF, and they had ordered 12,000 bags of popcorn with a tight deliverable timeline of 4 days. From total obscurity to being publicized in mainstream media in the first quarter of conceiving it. That’s when we realized that there’s no turning back and that Toronto Popcorn Company really has to happen. I had to let go of whatever it is that I was involved with and just dove head-first into this business.

Sarah Velasco: Why popcorn? 
Joseph Villegas: With the name Toronto Popcorn Company, one has to deliver with a trait that’s coherent to that of our city's. What better way to represent diversity than to offer popcorn flavors in massive colors and flavors.

Sarah Velasco: Are there common misconceptions about popcorn? Things that people usually don't know?
Joseph Villegas: That popcorn is boring. Wait ’til you’ve tasted our best-selling Halloween flavor, the Black Moomba (Black Popcorn smothered with Belgian White Chocolate and sprinkled with coconut shavings). It probably won’t make sense while you’re reading this but wait ’til you’ve tried it. :)
Sarah Velasco: What makes your popcorn different from more mainstream brands like Orville Redenbacher, or say-- a popcorn store like Kernels?
Joseph Villegas: We’ve been in business for just a little over two years so we are still at the stage of discovery. We do not have the industrial manufacturing edge of popcorn that you’d see in big-box stores (e.g. Nitrogen-injected packaging that preserves everything and makes it dry, etc.), so the best experience with our product is to consume it closest to the date of purchase. We also try our best to keep everything local as possible — our Espresso Caramel makes use of coffee beans purchased in the market, so does our vegan flavor Sweet Chili Pepper — the spices come from a local spice vendor. Our popping corn is locally grown as well. 

Sarah Velasco: How/ Where is everything made? 
Joseph Villegas: Everything is made in store — at least for retail. We are in the process of reworking the website and have started distributing to finely grade A fine foods retailers, and for that, we’ve put up a commissary facility in the east end.

Sarah Velasco: What are your top sellers? 
Joseph Villegas: Sea Salt & Maple, Salted Caramel, Confetti, Garlic Parmesan, Cheesy Caramel, Maple Bacon, Pizza, Cinnamon Toast, Sweet Chili Pepper, Buffalo Kick

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about Toronto Popcorn Company and TIFF? 
Joseph Villegas: TIFF is a huge deal for us because nothing else relates better to popcorn other than movies. Being the go-to popcorn vendor for the engagement and production groups for the film fest is one of the things we’re most proud of.
Sarah Velasco: Where can readers find your popcorn? 
Joseph Villegas: We are in the heart of downtown TO, the cultural melting spot of the city — Kensington Market. We are also in Holt Renfrew at Yorkdale, Coppa’s, McEwan Foods, PopBox, Saks Off 5th, RAWspace. We can always be reached at 1844 767 8368 and we ship Canada wide and to the States.

Sarah Velasco: Anything else you would like us to know? 
Joseph Villegas: Farmers feed cities! Your support to local brands like us keep the Canadian dollars Canadian :)
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We're huge fans of Toronto Popcorn Company's popcorn. Kernels are popped in house and made daily so you're guaranteed the freshest, best-tasting popcorn. We had the opportunity to try three of their most popular flavours: Garlic Parmesan, Sea Salt & Maple, and Confetti. Each flavour is unique, and looks so pretty! There's a nice crunch to their popcorn too.

We love that there are also vegan options available, and different sizes available. The owners also encourage sampling and if you can't stop by a store you can order online.
Perfect for special occasions, gift-bags, giveaways...popcorn is not just for eating at the movies anymore!

torontopopcorncompany.com