After nine months of planning and a lifetime of waiting, my trip to Japan is finally here. I will be flying from New York City to Tokyo tomorrow and will stay in Japan for the next three weeks. Andrew and I planned this trip when we both had full time jobs, and had no idea we would both be in the middle of starting our own companies during this time. We set our trip dates in stone and said that no matter what happens, we are going. So, I’m putting my baking aside for three weeks and will finally be able to enjoy watching others do the work. We’ll travel between Tokyo and Kyoto, stopping in small cities along the way. I plan to go in every bakery I see, taking in all the different flavors, designs and everything else that makes Japanese products so unique. I’m especially excited to see the department stores I’ve heard so much about, with their sprawling food halls and interesting packaging. I expect to come back refreshed and inspired.
Since it is Japan, the technology capital of the world, I assume I will have plenty of opportunities to get online. I will post as often as I can, but the blog will be unusually quiet until I return at the beginning of December. To help keep you going during November, I compiled a few topics into one post. You can read them all at once, or pace yourself and read each one on a new day (see, it’s like I haven’t left).
The Great Pumpkin
Looking for a fun cake for your Halloween celebrations or Thanksgiving feasts? Pick up a festive pumpkin cake at Polka Dot Cake Studio.
Same Thing, Different Block
I just found out that the co-owner of Baked in Brooklyn is one of the former owners of the Chocolate Bar, Matt Lewis. It seems that Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson, current owner of the Chocolate Bar, separated and Matt opened up Baked in Brooklyn. This sad news explains why Baked looks exactly like Chocolate Bar, with orange and brown colors and a retro theme. I understand he probably played a key role in developing the initial concept for Chocolate Bar, but why does the new place have to look so similar? When partners split, like Buttercup and Magnolia and now Chocolate Bar and Baked, why do partners essentially copy the old theme from the original store? The original experience can never be recreated, and I don’t understand why a store owner wouldn’t want to differentiate themselves more with a new shop. I guess it’s to be expected in a town now filled with Grey’s Papaya, 14th Street Papaya, Papaya Dog, Ray’s Original Pizza, Famous Ray’s, Famous Original Ray’s…
Back to Business
I thought learning to bake like a pro would be enough to get my bakery business started, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. You have to be able to create a product that people actually want to buy (as opposed to just gobble up for free) and that you can easily mass produce. Perfecting a recipe at home is just one step, but scaling that recipe to make large quantities, with commercial equipment, and get consistent results is quite another. The owner of Polka Dot Cake Studio, Ayse Dizioglu, has been gracious enough to let me use her kitchen at night to work on my recipes. I plan to debut a few products during December and January, and start the business early next year. We’re still picking a name, putting together packaging and perfecting products, but will be looking for help from Lovescool readers to taste-test and provide feedback. If you are located in New York City and are interested in participating in a taste-test session in December and January, please e-mail me at kelli at lovescool . com, with “Taste-test” in the subject line. We will also begin selling a few items at the end of the year, so save room for more dessert this holiday season.
The Ultimate Chocolate Event
The 8th Annual Chocolate Show will be held in New York City from November 10-13, 2005 (the Gala Fashion Show, featuring wearable chocolate, will also be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2005.) I recommend you go as early as possible since lines quickly grow around the block and you can wait up to 2 hours to get in. I’m relying on you to find some of this year’s best vendors for me since I’ll be out of town. Have fun and please e-mail me with your findings!
I look forward to reporting back my adventures in Japan and hearing about everything that happened in good old New York while I’m gone. But for now I must say (in my terrible Japanese), dewa mata, or as they say in America, see you later!