Like many friends and readers I spoke with during and after my visit to The Cheesecake Factory‘s Culinary Center in Calabasas, I assumed that some shortcuts and frozen, pre-prepared ingredients must play a role in their menu which is hundreds of items strong.
Nope. Teamwork, technology, larger-than-usual staffing, strict quality control and extreme attention to detail allows each restaurant to do what others in the industry can’t. Our experience concluded at the Santa Monica restaurant whereof the twelve dishes we tasted (some were new to me), there wasn’t a single one I didn’t like… a lot. This tally doesn’t even include the countless cheesecakes and desserts I stuck a fork into. It is The Cheesecake Factory, after all.
So, here’s what you need to know about The Cheesecake Factory.
Over 250 Recipes Are Made Fresh Daily
Can you believe that The Cheesecake Factory makes over 250 recipes fresh, from scratch every single day? We’re not talking about prep in a central kitchen with early morning shipment out to nearby restaurants.
Chefs chop vegetables, wrap egg rolls, and season chicken inside each individual restaurant (we’re talking over 1000 ingredients) from here to Hong Kong and even Dubai to the east.
Cooks do not even pre-grate cheese for the day ahead. This is a lot of work, but The Cheesecake Factory believes the effort is worth the final result. I have the DMs (direct messages) on social media from readers to prove it. What’s so interesting is how favorite dish vary based on who you talk to. Perhaps it’s the enormous menu. The bottom line is that the brand has super-fans in a way that other restaurants do not.
Chefs Work Constantly to Improve Every Recipe
Observing the chefs in action is what I enjoyed most about visiting the culinary center. We witnessed a row of glorious cheese from around the world being analyzed, just to make sure they were using the very best in each of their dishes.
Other chefs were busy testing old and new recipes. Luckily, we taste-tested the famous cinnamon roll pancakes which could easily be a dessert… for breakfast. Outstanding.
Food plays a huge roll in our travels so I’m thrilled to know that The Cheesecake Factory chefs also draw inspiration from what they eat around the world. In the name of research, they travel.
It’s the Same Menu Worldwide With No Sacrifices
Speaking of travel, it’s possible to find the comforts of home at The Cheesecake Factory in 200 restaurants across the globe. Have a hankering for Chicken Madeira in Canada or Hong Kong? No problem.
If good avocados are hard to get or expensive (an issue we faced as expats in London and Hong Kong), they’re still going to keep Avocado Eggrolls on the menu because that’s what their guests want. Thank goodness, because where else can you find them like this? Nowhere.
You Can Make Healthier Choices
The SkinnyLicious Menu features over 50 choices that are 590 calories or less. They do not look or taste like a sacrifice at all.
To give you an idea, the Lemon-Garlic Shrimp has sauteed shrimp, basil, tomato and lemon-garlic sauce and is served with asparagus and angel hair pasta. It’s a generous portion size that I probably could not finish if this was my entree. The SkinnyLicious menu also includes enchiladas, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pot pie, steak medallions and cocktails.
Aside from the SkinnyLicious menu, my healthier choice would be the gorgeous Vegan Cobb Salad which is definitely shareable due to its size.
I’m also personally a fan of the Miso Salmon, inspired by the miso black cod dish that Nobu Matsuhisa made famous.
Hearty Works, Too
It’s no secret that the more decadent, made-fresh-daily items are the most popular. Fried Macaroni and Cheese? Yes, please.
I hadn’t tried the Buffalo Blasts. The chicken, cheese and spicy buffalo sauce are inside the wrapper and then fried so that the mixture sort of “blasts” flavor into your mouth.
Or, maybe opt for the Crusted Chicken Romano which has a cheese crust and pasta on top. Incredible.
Everything in moderation, right? But then, there is this…
So Many Desserts, So Little Time
Speaking of treating yourself, save room for dessert (but you knew that already). I have a major sweet tooth so the popular, multicolored Celebration Cheesecake is up my alley but for the first time, I tried the Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Cheesecake and it’s a new favorite. I highly recommend it if you like Nutella.
You Can Order Desserts Beyond Cheesecake
Did you know that some of The Cheesecake Factory’s most popular desserts are actually not cheesecake? The Fresh Strawberry Shortcake with its homemade biscuits was dug into so quickly that I didn’t have time to take a photo of it. And, this Lemoncello Cream Torte definitely deserves a mention.
Feel Good About Where You Dine
The Cheesecake Factory Is Not Just for Special Occasions
Yes, cake is the ultimate symbol of celebrations and The Cheesecake Factory is a popular place for them. We’ve been for countless birthday parties over the years. My friends and I even dined there for dinner before my junior prom (!!!).
But, remember to think of The Cheesecake Factory when you just don’t feel like making things from scratch in your own kitchen. Take a break and let them make the food from scratch.
What is your favorite thing to order at The Cheesecake Factory?