Rustono, a Javanese origin who run tempe business in Kyoto, Japan, visited Rumah Tempe Indonesia, Bogor on 25 January 2014. The visit of Rustono to Bogor was facilitated by the Japan Indonesia Kaizen Center (JIK-C) with objective to share his experience in developing and promoting tempe in Japan to the tempe producers in Bogor. It was tour and observation to the RTI’s facilities and discussion session with KOPTI Members and Tempe producers in Bogor.
Rustono’s effort in developing and promoting tempe in Japan has been published in many mass media national and international. He has inspired many tempe producers in Indonesia by the struggle and hard work in building tempe business in Japan. Rustono, who worked in a Japanese food factory for three years, started his own business without initially knowing anything about tempe. He started from scratch and taught himself to make traditional tempe using yeast he brought back from Java. Dozens of times his recipes failed, but he soon realized that the water he was using was affecting the process. He then decided to use water from a mountain spring instead, and sure enough, it worked. Rustono returned to Java and visited about 40 tempe factories in the cities and villages, trying to find the perfect recipe. Each had an entirely different method and approach to making tempe, until finally he came up with his firm recipes and method. He started to selling the product to Indonesian expatriates living in Japan. Word spread quickly, and soon he had Japanese people seeking out this new delicacy.
In Indonesia, where tempe is widely available and inexpensive, people may think nothing of this food. But Rustono’s expertise has seen him invited to universities in Japan to speak as a guest lecturer. Currently his brand, Rusto’s Tempeh, has become widely popular with his customers, 60 percent of whom are Japanese.
Rustono gratefull with the existence of Rumah Tempe Indonesia as center for excellence for tempe development in Indonesia. He sugested to develop another tempe pilot plant in other area of Indonesia. The discussion session with Rustono had inspired tempe producers in Indonesia on the great opportunity of tempe as a healthy soyfood product that widely acceptable both in national and international level. Rustono expressed his willingness to contribute in the further event at national scale, such as seminar, talkshow to inspire as many people as possible on the miracle of tempe for health as well as economic benefit.