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Early morning delights at Michell Bakery

Date Posted: 1999-06-05

When I was a child, my mother used to send me to a small grocery shop in our neighborhood to buy some tofu for our breakfast of miso soup each morning. Although I wasn't too happy to get up so early, I liked the routine.

I knew the 10-minute walk from our home at that time would take me past a small tofu factory. Every morning, rain or shine, the white smoke from the chimney would billow forth and send the smell of soybeans floating through the cool morning air. I realized then that the tofu I purchased from the grocery shop was a direct product of the tofu plant and that’s why my mother sent me to that store instead of buying the mass-produced tofu at the supermarket. Standing among many busy housewives, I would always wait my turn to pay for the tofu at the cashier, then hurry back home.

But that was 10 or 15 years ago. I grew up, I moved out, and my early morning mission was over.

However, a recent visit to the “Michelle Bakery Shop" on Kadena Air Base rekindled memories of my time as a youth, although from a different perspective.

If I were raised by a family who liked bread and eggs for breakfast, instead of tofu, my morning routine might have been completely different. (That would have been more fun to me, since I prefer the aroma of butter to the soybeans and the freedom of choice.)

If there's one bakery you can count on for fresh bread to start another long day, you're in luck. In case you haven't found it yet, there's one next to Main Street USA.

The “Michelle Bakery Shop” is the first bakery to specialize in French and Japanese breads and pastries on military bases in Okinawa. With nearly 30 varieties, prepared in the see-through kitchen in the bakery every morning, it would be hard not to notice the sweet smell of fresh bread floating from the bakery.

The owner Yoshinobu Nakama, combined with the polished skills of head chef Yoshiyuu Kimura, are a dynamic team bringing forth a delicious range of fresh bread each and every morning. Nakama has been involved with the flour industry for 25 years and has studied the craft in England and Germany.

“There're a certain kind of flour for a certain kind of bread. We prefer to use imported flour from France and the U.S.A,” explained Nakama.

Head baker Kimura also spent his youth in Europe to study the art of yeast and had been polishing his skills in such prestigious establishments as the Harbor View Hotel and Busena Resort Hotel since then. After his retirement from the Busena Hotel, where G8 ministers will stay during the 2000 summit, Kimura moved his work place to Kadena Air Base. Japanese pastries and European cakes will appear on the shelves soon.

For those who enjoy a steaming hot cup of coffee with bread, “Cafe Du Mac,” located in the Kadena MAC terminal, is a great place to try. With more than 35 gourmet coffee choices to choose from, “Cafe Du Mac” is a coffee lover’s dream come true. It also operates a lunch box delivery service to offices and private residences on base. Lunch boxes include Yakiniku ($4.00) and Beef Donburi ($4.00) and are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. To order, call 634-7611.

"Michelle Bakery Shop" opens daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and is located at Building 427, next to Main Street USA.

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