Under the Toque: Yoshihiro Maeda

Hanamaru Udon’s corporate chef talks trade, technique

As the Hanamaru Udon chain eyes growth beyond its home market of Japan, corporate chef Yoshihiro Maeda is charged with marrying the efficiency of a large business with the artisanal methods of its signature product.


Udon, a chewy noodle particularly enjoyed in western Japan, is traditionally made by wrapping the dough in plastic and stepping on it to flatten it out. That process is done a total of seven times, removing the air and developing the gluten.


The 269-unit Hanamaru U

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