From Brush With Death To Baking Doughtnuts, Black Label Donuts' Rich Eng Grateful For Life, Support

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you have a sweet tooth, you may find it hard to ignore the appeal of doughnuts.

One man wanted to be a doctor, then became a master sommelier, until finding his calling in dough, reports CBSN New York’s Steve Overmyer.

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Rich Eng is capitalizing on that people don’t eat donuts because its nutritious, people enjoy the pastries in the spirit of indulgence

“I like to say that I’m making an everyday staple an everyday luxury,” he said. “Why not?”

Eng is the founder of Black Label Donuts, a gourmet doughnut shop in Queens aiming to make life sweeter by the dozen.

“We’re celebrating the year of the pig,” said Eng. “That’s a peanut butter miso glaze with brule’d banana and hickory smoked bacon.

“People like the idea that you can have something that’s a guilty pleasure, but it becomes an everyday luxury,” he said. “And it’s not so bad for you because I’m doing everything from scratch and I happen to be using fresh ingredients.”

If cooking is an art, baking is a science. Physics and chemistry with the right amount of flour and sugar. If you do it right, it’s also art.

It might not seem natural to take something as casual as a doughnut and make it gourmet.

“For me, I was tired of seeing donuts being too much of a vehicle and I wanted to bring the focus back to the dough,” he said. “Something people would enjoy eating and not just relish the toppings or glazes or fillings. I wanted it to be a complete experience.”

On average, Americans eat two to three doughnuts per month. No one really knows when or where donuts were first invented, but they’re being perfected Queens.

But at the peak of Eng’s career came his lowest point in life. Eng had parked his car on a side street and was walking around the corner to his parents’ apartment when they say a man approached him, asking for his car keys and wallet.

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“It was a huge horrible ordeal – I got attacked, ambushed at 2 a.m. in the morning,” said Eng. “The gun went off in my face and it shattered my face. I was lucky I was able to see the gun over my right shoulder and jerked my head back and that’s what saved me.

June 5, 2018: Man Shot In The Face During Robbery In Queens

“I’m lucky that we’re having this discussion,” he said. “I’m lucky I get to do what I do still.”

Eng needed multiple surgeries to survive. For days he didn’t even want to look at himself. But then everything changed.

“The funny thing is, when I turned on my phone after charging it up, it sounded like a pinball machine,” he said. “That’s when I realized everybody’s waiting for me to come back.”

The messages filled social media. His Queens community came out in droves.

“From the outset, it’s nothing but kindness and overwhelming support from all the regulars,” said Eng. “Even when I ran out of doughnuts they just wanted to make sure I was OK.

“That was one of the most beautiful moments in my life time,” he said. “That I had that kind of following. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

It’s only been eight months since his attack, but Eng is back creating his one-of-a-kind delicacies.

The sweet treats remind us that life’s too precious to worry about how many doughnuts we ate.

“You know, you’ve got to appreciate every moment of your life,” said Eng.”For me, it’s always about not wasting a moment. If you’re going to eat two to three times a day, why waste that one moment.” he said.

“If you’re going to do it, do it well,” he said. “Life is too short to not enjoy every moment you have, especially when it comes to these epicurean moments.”

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A page has been set up for Eng. To see it, please click here.