This is a two part post that I will wrap up tomorrow. We’ve got a request to provide 50 (yes, fifty) bento boxes for Jasmine 5th birthday party on May 6th. The order was to prepare 30 Princess Belle kyaraben and 20 Naruto kyaraben. I will write about the Naruto kyaraben in this post first. And for those who don’t know what kyaraben is, it’s a slang for character bento.
Since I’ve made 60 Naruto kyaraben on March, I think I’ve figured out how to make 20. I’ve learnt some great lessons from my previous project and now I’m intended to do better. The first lesson is preparation. I need to prepare all the garnishes (read: Naruto) the day before and when talking about preparation, that’s including the assembling of the parts since we need a great deal of time assembling those tiny little parts (read: eyes and those cat like hair, 6 of them, in Naruto’s face). If we don’t prepare all those thing the day before then be prepare to have a nightmare in the morning.
The second lesson is organization. Since no one else in the world (I think) already done 50 kyaraben in one day (and want to share their experience on the web) I need to figure out how to speed certain things. The art of making one or two little (but great) boutique quality kyaraben is very different from making a mass 50 good looking kyaraben boxes. We need speed and efficiency but still not sacrificing the quality of the finished product, especially when someone pay for it. The last thing I want is to ruin a child’s birthday celebration because my team screw up.
So, since we also need to prepare Belle, I decided to make Naruto first. I’ve made all those colored pasta sheets on Monday and freeze them all for one night. We need to freeze them so they all dried up well for cutting. On Tuesday I spent 6 hours to cut all the parts (except the yellow hair and orange jacket part) and assembled them. I used egg sheets for the yellow hair and carrots for the orange jacket part so they need to be prepared a day before to maintain freshness.
On Wednesday, while I cut parts for Belle, my wife prepared the yellow egg sheets and helped cut those spiky hair parts and the orange jacket parts. We also need to blanch those carrot cuts again to sterilize them.
And lastly on the delivery day, we started at 4 a.m. and prepared the rice, all the vegetables and chicken nuggets. Our team only consist of 3 people since my usual assistant was taking a leave for two weeks, so we actually short handed, my wife was very nervous that we’re not able to finish in time. But still we must finish them on time, we just kept going and actually we never feel this task to overwhelming.
We need to prepare the boxes with lettuce, then add (in order) the rice, nuggets, lemon slice, broccoli chunks, corn, and strawberries before I assembled the Naruto on top of rice. I still need to put the yellow hair and orange jacket part and also arranged some loose parts with mayonnaise (acting as glue). Those mayo is very useful for sticking those loose parts but we can only use it on the D-day to keep it fresh. Since I already assembled most of the parts for 20 Naruto I only need 30 minutes to wrap them up.
Overall I’m quite happy with those Naruto kyaraben, it’s better than my first Naruto project since I can add all the details and we did it as scheduled. Next I will continue with those Belles …