Retail bakeries across the country are showcasing new products like never before.
Celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2023, Okayama Kobo Bakery & Cafe was founded by Tsunetaka Kawakami in Anaheim, California. Lacking the funds to pursue a university education, Kawakami supported himself by working at a chain of small bakeries, laboring and practicing until eventually his skill matched that of his supervisor. Kawakami went on to build his own self-run business with the opening of his first bakery, Okayama Kobo Liaison, and later his second bakery location, Okayama Kobo Kunitomi.
Further, in collaboration with other businesses, the bakery features unique menu items from different restaurants. Customers can pre-order and pick up these items, along with other items at Okayama Kobo Bakery & Cafe. These bakery products are handmade using 100% Hokkaido flour, additive/preservative free dough, and baked fresh daily.
Springboarded by the success of both locations, Kawakami established a consulting business, and through this helped open over 200 bakery locations across Japan.
“Takumi is a Japanese word meaning artisan,” Kawakami explains. “We want to celebrate Asian creatives by bringing you the best in handcrafted, well-designed, long-lasting, and either organic, sustainable or ethically produced products that honor the culture of Asian craftsmanship.”
Signature items include the Mentai Salt & Butter Roll (Mentaiko, or Spicy cod roe, filled inside a salt and butter roll, topped with seaweed); Matcha Mochi An-Pan, Matcha-flavored bun filled with chunky red bean and mochi; Kobo Kuma, Bear-shaped soft bun, filled with homemade vanilla bean custard; and Chocolate Emoji, Savory selections include the popular Hot Dog Panini, which is made with Japanese pork sausage, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and cheddar cheese.