The queue for Bake Cheese Tarts at its first shop in Singapore started at 8.15am on April 29, almost two hours before the shop at B4 of Ion Orchard opened.
By the time it did, there were at least 30 in the queue. Although staff told customers the wait would be more than two hours, many stayed on.
Bake Cheese Tart is from Hokkaido, Japan, and is famous for its mousse-like cream cheese filling and crisp pastry.
The tarts went into the oven an hour before the store opened, to ensure that they would be at their freshest. They need to cool for 30 minutes before being sold, to ensure that the tarts have enough time to firm up.
Finance analyst Sherman Wong, 30, was one of the first in the queue, arriving at 8.30am.
Immediately after buying the tarts, he ate one.
“It’s soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and it’s not very sweet. Most importantly, you can taste the cheese inside, which is the key point of the tart,” he said.
Swoon-worthy Bake cheese tarts – when will the Klang Valley get some? Photos: The Straits Times
Others who had tried the tarts elsewhere raved about them too.
“I normally don’t eat sweets, but the tarts are rich, yet not cloying, so I find myself having a few even though I don’t really eat desserts,” said Sandra Chia, 27, who owns a party supplies business.
Born in Singapore
Many Singaporeans who flock to Bake may not know that its signature baked cheese tarts were created in Singapore.
The chain’s president and chief executive Shintaro Naganuma, 30, said this when he was in town to launch the brand, ahead of its opening.
The Hokkaido native said Kinotoya, an established Western confectionery in Sapporo that his family runs, was invited to take part in a week-long Hokkaido fair in Singapore, at the Meidi-Ya supermarket at Liang Court, in November 2011.
On the third day, the booth ran out of paper boxes to store its chilled blueberry cheese tarts. That forced him to think of a quick alternative for displaying the tarts.
Shintaro Naganuma, CEO of Bake Inc, says the baked cheese tarts were born of adversity, and in Singapore, too.
He decided to place them on metal baking trays, which sparked the idea of baking the tarts and serving them warm instead.
Much to his surprise, the warm cheese tarts became a hit. From 50 tarts a day, the booth started selling 1,000 a day.
He said in Japanese via a translator: “I was shocked as I grew up eating my father’s chilled cheese tarts that was sold at his shop and always thought that was the best way of serving it.”
Upon returning to Hokkaido, he started selling the baked cheese tarts in Kinotoya’s outlets. He removed the blueberries from the cheese mousse and made the tarts smaller so they could be eaten easily.
Demand was so huge that he started Bake in Tokyo in 2014 to sell the tarts. The chain now has 13 outlets – nine in Japan, two in Seoul and one each in Hong Kong and Bangkok. The Singapore outlet is Bake’s fifth overseas outlet.
To keep the quality consistent, the tarts are made in a central kitchen in Sapporo before being air-flown to Singapore every two weeks.
Staff here will brush egg wash on the tarts before they are baked again. The process is similar in its other overseas outlets.
Two staff from the Japanese headquarters are based here to train staff. About 5,000 tarts are produced daily. There will also be seasonal flavours such as chocolate.
Naganuma plans to open three outlets here in the next two to three years and wants to bring in Bake’s sister brands, such as Croquant Chou Zakuzaku, which sells crunchy cream puffs.
He said: “By limiting it to three outlets here, we can focus our efforts on a single product to make it the best.”
The shop had prepared 4,000 tarts for its opening, with a second delivery later in the day. Customers were limited to 12 tarts each. They cost S$3.50 (RM10.30) each or S$19.50 (RM57) for a box of six. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Source : http://www.star2.com/food/food-news/2016/05/25/the-craze-for-bake-cheese-tarts/