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 Udon, which is ...

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