How to Learn the Skills of a Teppanyaki Chef

Teppanyaki chef at work at a Benihana restaurant

Teppanyaki chef at Benihana restaurant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ve just come from a Japanese restaurant and watched the chef perform the ancient art of teppanyaki cooking. The chef who practices teppanyaki must not only excel in cooking, he has to be able to cook quickly while entertaining the people seated in front of him. All eyes are on him at all times as he creates a culinary masterpiece with a little magic thrown in. He slices and dices and carefully stacks up onion rings in what looks like a teepee. When the smoke comes out the top you have just witnessed the onion volcano. Your interest has been piqued and you want to know more – where do you start?

Work or Pleasure?

First you must decide whether you want to learn this to impress your friends or you want to fulfill your passion of being a teppanyaki chef. There is a big distinction between the two. If you have always wanted to try it, you can take a quick class; Benihana offers classes on occasion where you get to work directly with their chef and you even receive a well-earned diploma saying you worked with a Master Chef.

If you want to surprise your friends and family, there are some well-done YouTube videos that you can study and practice at home. (All you need to learn is the onion volcano and your audience will be wowed!) In the privacy of your home you can practice working with the knives as you increase your speed. Other procedures are online as well and before you know it, you can look like a pro at your next dinner party.

Training as a Teppanyaki Chef as a Career Move

If this is something you have always dreamed of, why not start by signing up for a class at a culinary school. If you already have a background as a chef you could also try getting a job at a local Japanese restaurant and study under the resident chef. Training directly under someone who is actually doing it is usually a good way to learn something new. This chef already knows all the ins and outs of the business; he knows what works and what doesn’t.

With hands-on training at a restaurant with an professional teppanyaki chef, you will get the whole experience – the heat of the grill, the timing of all the elements that go into the meal, and the tricks of trade that make this type of chef so unique. Let’s face it, most gourmet chefs create their masterpieces behind closed doors with the utmost concentration devoted to the dish at hand. They don’t have to worry if the flying shrimp that just left their knife is going to land in the right place.

If you have the desire and the temperament, you’ll never have a dull day at work as a Teppanyaki chef!

Andrew is passionate about Japanese cooking. As a distributor of sushi conveyor belts, Andrew had the chance to be in contact with some of the best Teppanyaki chefs and enjoys sharing his knowledge online. When he is not blogging, Andrew loves spending time with his friends and family.

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