How to Become a Teppanyaki Chef
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Teppanyaki is a Japanese style of cooking in which the chef prepares food on a hot griddle, often in front of dinner guests. This gives him the opportunity not only to cook, but to entertain by performing tricks like flipping eggs in the air and producing miniature volcanoes out of sliced onions. This style of restaurant cooking requires constant training, as chefs learn new tricks and discover new ways to delight guests with the exhibition of live cooking. There are few hard and fast rules for becoming a teppanyaki chef -- the only requirement is a passion for cooking and for people.
Attend a culinary institute, particularly one that specializes or otherwise offers training in Japanese cooking and sushi preparation. Teppanyaki is a Japanese style, and many restaurants that offer this type of food also offer sushi -- training in both areas makes you a valuable asset.
Seek employment with a teppanyaki restaurant. Without experience, you will typically be brought on as a learner -- despite any education you may have, expect to be trained by the seasoned veterans of any restaurant in which you find work. When seeking employment, demonstrate confidence, good humor and communication skills, which are as important as being able to work the grill.
Practice your skills at home with a teppanyaki grill. You do not need as elaborate a setup as you may find at work -- a simple grill plate atop your stove or even a portable electric grill gives you a work surface adequate for practicing your technique. When you apply for jobs, you may be required to demonstrate your ability, so independent practice gives you both skill and confidence to show what you can do.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.