By Joey Defalco – News Editor
Eager students crowded around a small table in the Gaiser Student Center to sign their name and receive a small piece of purple paper that would allow them to receive a free pastry by Japanese baker Hiro Horie on May 25.
The Japanese program hosted the event to allow Horie to meet students and offer them a taste of his Japanese breads and pastries. Horie spoke briefly about his career path and experience with Japanese baking and then took questions from audience members, most of which were related to baking tips.
Horie said the Japanese word for bread, pan, has origins in Portuguese because traders from Portugal introduced the Japanese to bread in the 1500s. Pastries in Japan are most often made with unbleached Canadian flour, Horie said, and are not made to stay fresh for as long as American breads. He attributed this to the culture in Japan, where trips to a grocery or convenience store are daily activities.
Hiro said he began focusing on baking after completing a food tech degree in Japan where a large baking company hired him to make English muffins. From there, Horie attended the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas and worked an assortment of jobs including research and development of new and wholesale products. He returned from Japan and opened his pastry shop in Beaverton called Oyatsupan in May 2016, bringing a taste of his culture with him.
“There are very few Asian bakeries in America,” Horie said.
Once Horie finished speaking and taking questions, attendees lined up for freshly baked pastries. Among the assortment were matcha cookies, melon bread, chocolate-chip melon pastries, red bean croissant, custard hills, apple custard croissants and anpan, a Japanese sweet roll filled with red bean paste.
However, it was the beef curry doughnut, recommended by Horie, that was most popular among the attendees, with the first box emptying out after only two minutes.
The Japanese program invited Horie as part of their series of Spring events intended to bring Japanese culture to campus.