The Cheesecake Factory Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek

Last week I was invited to California for a private tour of The Cheesecake Factory Culinary Research and Development Center where all recipes are tested and created. Then got a behind the scenes look at one of the restaurant’s kitchens and treated to an amazing lunch to try the new fall menu items. It was an exciting trip and I’m betting you’ll have a whole new outlook on The Cheesecake Factory after you read this!

Here’s a fun secret that I never knew about The Cheesecake Factory… EVERY dish on the menu, yes all 250 menu items, are made fresh from scratch in each of the restaurant’s kitchens. Nothing is frozen or pre-made on the menu but the cheesecakes. Each head of lettuce is cut by a person, every eggroll hand rolled and each sauce is made fresh simmering for hours until perfect.

For such a large restaurant chain, making the recipes from scratch is unheard of these days and what makes The Cheesecake Factory stand apart from the rest.

It was so much fun being invited for a behind the scenes look at the Culinary Center and having a chance to taste so many recipes! The incredible aroma as soon as we walked into the kitchens was mouthwatering. Full of beautiful fresh fruits, vegetables, bread baking in the oven, bacon sizzling and amazing sauces I didn’t know if I could make it to lunch! Luckily we got to nibble things as we got the tour. Click here to see my Instagram Story about my trip.

If you don’t know the background story of The Cheesecake Factory, it all started in 1978 when the founder , David Overton, wanted to share his mother’s cheesecake recipes by offering a variety of cheesecake flavors at his small Beverly Hills restaurant. Most people thought it would fail, because who would want different flavors of cheesecake? Fast forward 40 years and The Cheesecake Factory has became one of America’s favorite restaurants.

Getting a never before seen look at the Culinary Center kitchens where the recipes are developed was definitely a treat! Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at The Cheesecake Factory gave us a tour and introduced us to his team. It was evident how much they love their jobs because many have been with the company for 15 years or more. We also got to tour a kitchen of one of the restaurants. The kitchens were so sparkly clean! It was great watching some of our favorite recipes being made from scratch!

The first secret we learned was how they make their amazing Crispy Brussels Sprouts, an amazing new fall menu item. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was, because this is my all-time favorite appetizer! Fried Brussels sprouts and Brussels sprouts leaves tossed in salt, maple butter syrup, and smoky bacon, this dish is to die for! The chefs put so much time and care into each recipe. They actually tried about 500 different kinds of syrup over the years before they picked the perfect one. Wow!

Even the cocktails are tested daily! It was fun meeting the people who develop the drinks, because I love the Cheesecake Factory’s happy hour. They let me taste test some Passion Fruit Mojitos. I tried three different varieties… 1) mint was muddled 2) mint was torn 3) mint was not muddled or torn. My favorite was the drink with the torn mint. It had just the right amount of mint flavoring. I could really get used to this job!!!

When I told friends I was going on this trip, the most requests were for me to ask them why are there so many choices on the menu? The answer was straight and simple… the founder wanted a place where everyone would enjoy a meal together. His vision was to bring people together, so there would always be something on the menu for everyone. Now you know why the menu is so large. It makes total sense, because you could definitely try something different on each visit!