Recently if you have come to Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake factories in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or Taiwan, you may have noticed one of these beautiful Japanese ovens coming finished with a Backen or custom Uncle Tetsu logo on the front.
This is "Backen", Japanese Ovens made by Shichiyo Co. and designed with custom specifications for Uncle Tetsu to be used all over the world to make perfect Japanese Cheesecakes.
Today was the first time that the global team members have travelled to the Shichiyo factory where all of our ovens are made, and as we learned, where they make a whole lot of other ovens & specialty equipment.
As we begin our walk, what do we see gleaming in red? A fresh-made Uncle Tetsu Backen Oven! Our team immediately takes off the wrap and getting acquainted with this friend who they will surely be meeting again on the other side of the world at a new store open.
Who knows, you might just see this oven in a city where you live one day ^o^
After the tour, the team assembles in the Shichiyo bakery-kitchen, to learn the secrets of a new cake recipe...
And what might this cake be?
0:03, 0:02, 0:01, ~Fun Backen Oven Jingle~
Yes, if you could notice the special box that it is baked in or the special mixing techniques that are used, then you might have guessed that we were making the world-famous Castella Cake.
Originating from Portugal, this cake was brought to Japan when the Portuguese explorers landed in here. Now we can just imagine the original Portuguese people sharing the secrets of this now legendary cake to the Japanese many years ago.
Recently, this Cake has become more and more known and gaining in popularity around the world.
Have you tried Castella Cake before?
Thank you Sous-chef Nakamura for teaching us about Castella Cake
Would you like Uncle Tetsu to start making this cake for you?! (Comment below ^^)
Now, for the real purpose of our trip to our oven-makers...
To make our Uncle Tetsu Signature Japanese Cheesecake with Shichiyo Co. for the first time so that all of our ovens in the future can be further developed to make what our global team considers to be the perfect Japanese Cheesecake.
So what do we think?
The oven that we made our Japanese Cheesecakes is not the exact one we normally use in our stores around the world. Our Team member Sora explains to the Shichiyo team about our goal to make not just the perfect-tasting Japanese cheesecake, but one with a consistent & perfect golden browning on the top of each of the Japanese Cheesecakes made together in a single batch.
Just as our main purpose for the day comes to close, something unexpected comes.
We get driven to a nearby factory where we meet...
A Castella Cake-mixing robot! Wowwww~!
This makes us all really impressed by the Shichiyo team's dedication and passion. As it is one of the important aspects of the making of Castella Cake to take the cake out of the oven three times before it is finished, this Robot has learned to perform these mixes perfectly, with attention to consistency, accuracy, and efficiency.
Then, something very unexpected happened...
Our Team Canada team member Luca's eye caught a special little dessert known as a "White Bean Manju", made especially here in Shichiyo's factories.
Luca immediately couldn't stop talking about how he has never eaten such a delicious cookie like this in his life. Indeed, such kind of Manju is specialty in Japan and can rarely be found in Australia, Canada and Europe.
Luca asks for some extra cookies to bring directly back to Uncle Tetsu himself, who was waiting back in the kitchen where we made the Castella & Signature Cheesecake.
Luca and other members of the team ask Uncle Tetsu... Can we start making this Manju in... say... Toronto Canada?
The flavour is a touch sweet like vanilla, as the rare white bean is balanced with a bit of sugar and milk and put into a soft & rare cookie outside.
Where have you tried a cookie like this before?
If Luca is right, Canadians, Americans, and Europeans would fall in love with this cookie much like he did upon his first bite.
(This was actually Luca’s 3rd or 4th cookie… we lost count).
Day 1 has come to a close at the Shichiyo Factory, and to celebrate this special meeting, the Shichiyo Team takes the Uncle Tetsu Global team out to one of their favourite sushi restaurants in downtown Hakata, Fukuoka: “Hikari”.
Here we are all ate fresh Hakata sushi with all the main team members of Shichiyo Co. We wished that the President of Shichiyo Co. could have been there to join us on this important occasion, and hope that we may meet with him soon!
And with that, the Uncle Tetsu and Shichiyo Teams went home and prepared for another important day of making Japanese Cheesecakes.