Café with A Story/ From Car Park to Arts Space at Orchard Central


Epoch Times, Singapore Edition (Issue 501, 19 Dec – 1 Jan, 2015)

By Ting Ting
Epoch Times Staff

Happy Pancakes Café, which brings together Tokyo’s signature fluffy pancakes and authentic Straits Asian coffee, was officially launched by his Excellency Mr Haruhisa Takeuchi, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore, on November 25, 2014 in Orchard Central.

The Story Behind Happy Pancakes Café
A collaboration between The RICE Company Limited and Little Creators from Japan, Happy Pancakes Café carries the intent to support socially and financially disadvantaged young people in Singapore and Japan. It also trains youth beneficiaries of The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, equipping them with hospitality and service skills.

Its establishment was made possible by a S$100,000 sponsorship from OWL, and the youth will also have the chance to learn how to brew OWL coffee. The partnership behind Happy Pancakes Café is also “the beginning of a series of celebrations to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan in 2016” by Mr Colin Goh, Chief Executive Officer for The RICE Company Limited.

Pancake with a Japanese Heart
The type of fluffy pancakes that Happy Pancakes Café serves is very popular in Japan. In Harajuku, Tokyo, people would queue for hours to buy such pancakes.
In summer, police officers may even tell these pancake stores not to let their customers wait too long as they could get sick. Besides Tokyo, other cities like Shinjuku and Osaka also have such pancake stores. It makes people wonder what is so special about these pancakes.

“It is the kind of the Japanese heart, the Japanese way of service,” says Mr Tomoyuki
Tsuge, a chef at Happy Pancake Café and the creator of the popular fluffy pancake in Harajuku.

Mr Tomoyuki shares with Epoch Times the secret of making delicious pancakes and his belief in providing good service.

Is the pancake here the same as the one in Harajuku?
Tomoyuki: The taste is a bit different and the cooking method is also changed.

Is it difficult to make good pancakes?
Tomoyuki: I’ve been making pancakes for five years. It is not difficult, but you have to understand the weight, the temperature, etc. to make good pancakes. This is something both easy and difficult.

I tried the pancake just now. It was very delicious and quite special, very fluffy.
Tomoyuki: In order to cater to Singaporeans, I tried to remake the pancakes. Trials after trials, I made this pancake. It took like six months.

What is the recipe behind the success of this pancake and the pancake in Harajuku?
Tomoyuki: Science.

Tomoyuki: You know, milk, and egg, and the baking powder. The question is how to get them to ‘work’ and what to add to the baking powder to make it ‘work’ better and to produce fluffier pancake. I tried to make pancakes after studying that.

Very interesting to know that. I hardly relate science to pancakes.

Tomoyuki: Yes, very few people thought about that. I hope to help promote delicious pancakes in Singapore and I hope by having the youth here learn how to make them, the delicious pancakes can even be promoted to other parts of Asia. I hope this delicious food made from what I’ve learned and the experiences gained from these youth can last.

So you also teach the youth here to make pancakes. How is their training like?
Tomoyuki: The training consists of the teaching of cooking method and how to provide good service. The training of service is very important. Omotenashi is very important.

Tomoyuki: It’s the Japanese service. In addition to teaching them how to make pancakes, I also teach the youth here the Japanese way of service.
Besides delivering dishes to the customers or talking to the customers, ‘omotenashi’ is also about always wanting to know more about the customers and always wanting to provide more for the customers. It is the kind of the Japanese heart, the Japanese way of service.

Happy Pancakes Café is located on the tenth floor of Orchard Central, and is open to the public the week leading to Christmas. Come and taste the specially made pancakes yourself and experience the heart-warming ‘omotenashi’ the café provides.


From Car Park to Arts Space at Orchard Central

Epoch Times Staff

To nurture budding home-grown talent in the arts from financially-disadvantaged families, a car park space on Level 10 of Orchard Central has been transformed into a 13,000 square feet space for the creative arts.

This dedicated space – 10 Square @ Orchard Central (10sq) – is managed by non-profit arts and cultural organisation, The RICE Company Limited (RICE). It features a theatre-auditorium, three music studios, a visual arts studio, a dance studio, an arena, seminar and conference rooms, as well as a service-training café called Happy Pancakes.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, was present at the official opening of the arts space.

She said, “I am happy to know that 10Sq is designed for this purpose. It will provide youth with access to the arts, right in the heart of our city. It is the training ground for youth from financially-challenged families, who are pursuing performing and visual arts training.”

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