If you’re a Japanese food enthusiast, then you must have tried teppanyaki-style food recipes several times in your lifetime and are probably planning to buy a teppanyaki grill for yourself to enjoy cooking your favorite teppanyaki dishes at home.
But cooking teppanyaki-style foods is not as simple as the traditional cooking styles that you’re familiar with and you’ll have to learn some authentic Japanese teppanyaki tricks.
For all intents and purposes I think it’s safe to say that teppanyaki tricks are only meant for entertaining your guests.
So if you already have a teppanyaki grill or cooktop in your kitchen and you’re definitely inviting your family and friends over to appreciate your cooking prowess, then you might as well learn and master the teppanyaki tricks as well in order to entertain them.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Some Teppanyaki Tricks to Learn
- 2 Is it Really Important to Entertain Your Guests While they’re Waiting for their Meal?
- 3 How Will You Benefit from Your Newly Acquired Teppanyaki Tricks?
- 4 How our Five Senses Influence our Mood and Behavior Towards Food
Some Teppanyaki Tricks to Learn
There are only about 5 unique teppanyaki chef tricks that you can learn to master, but they can be quite the challenge just to get used to. However, if you put your heart into it, then you definitely can master it in about 4 – 6 months time.
Once you’ve mastered the alluring teppanyaki tricks, then you’ll be the genuine crowd-pleaser and you’ll absolutely love what you’re doing.
Let’s look at some of the few teppanyaki tricks that you can learn:
General Knife/Spatula Handling
If someone told you that the fancy knife and spatula tricks are just for show, then they’re correct, but the same can be said about all the other teppanyaki tricks.
Being playful before preparing a meal for your guests/customers isn’t the focus of teppanyaki-style cooking, it’s the satisfaction you give to your guests that is!
This is exactly the reason why Japanese teppanyaki chefs do these tricks – they aim to please not just with the delicious food they’ll prepare, but also make their guests look forward to every meal.
Here’s a YouTube video with details on how the spatula and knife tricks are done. Basically you’d have to generate centripetal or centrifugal forces (it could be both or either) to spin the spatula and knife around your index finger.Then tap is on the grill as you would tap the drumsticks on the snare drum.
You can also toss the spatula and knife into the air, flipping it and then catch it again while continuing your spinning spatula tricks seamlessly (you may want to avoid tossing the knife as it is dangerous for you and your guests, but the spatula should be fine).
It may also help if you’ve got some matching beats to your tricks to make it even more interesting.
Also read: teppanyaki tools every chef needs
The Fried Rice Heart
Isn’t it ironic how many people equate food to love? Well, I find that epiphany heartwarming, especially because food is the second most essential thing to our survival next to water.
Basically you can’t live without food, so there’s no arguing that! Another thing is that food and the aroma from a cooked food is an instant anti-depresant just like the morning sunlight.
No one gets sad when they see, smell or taste food and that is a fact! Everybody gets excited when they see pizzas, or shrimp teppanyaki, or apples and so many other foods. And everybody loves food as much as they love their pets or loved ones – it gives them the same warm feelings when they see it.
Therefore the fried rice heart trick that teppanyaki chefs gives you is a symbol of his/her love for food and their love for you, their guests/customers.
The Egg Juggle/Toss
This trick has no analogy to it and it simply requires your determination and skills to learn it as a teppanyaki chef. Breaking an egg is actually a very easy trick and basically anyone can do it, but doing it the teppanyaki style requires a little more finesse and precision than you think.
Start by spinning the egg on the grill and then use the spatula to pick it up as you control it on the spatula and keep it from falling off.
Toss the egg into the air while it’s still spinning (you actually need to keep the egg spinning the whole time until you break it) and catch it with the spatula as it falls back to the ground. Do not make the spatula stationary when you attempt to catch the egg, instead move it a long the path of the egg as it falls in order to cushion its fall, thereby preventing its shell from breaking.
Now it’s time to crack the egg! To do this you’ll need to allow the spinning momentum of the egg to die down. Then toss it into the air one last time and flip the spatula to let the egg fall on the sharp edge of it and break.
The egg yolk and white will fall right into the grill and get fried instanly as you end your egg juggle and toss trick.
The zucchini toss is probably the only trick that involves the participation of the customers/guests as the chef will literally toss a stir-fried zucchini in the customer’s mouth from 5 – 6 feet away. There’s nothing special about this trick really and you just need to have good aim to make the sliced zucchini land in your guest’s mouth.
Besides learning how to properly stir-fry vegetables you may need a lot of target practice to achieve this skill, except if you’re very good at playing darts or you were once a circus knife throwing performer or something.
The zucchini toss is absolutely entertaining it will leave your guests with huge smiles on their faces when they’ll go home.
The most eye-catching trick in the teppanyaki business is the onion volcano. This is done by peeling off the different layers of the onion and stacking them up against each other to form – you guessed it – the onion volcano!
I’d have trouble doing that with two hands let alone two utensils. Then again these guys are pros and their level of comfort with their tools can equate to my comfort with my pencil in my hand (I’m good with pencil drawing).
While the onion volcano has been formed the chef will pour oil and wine (a lot more than the oil) in the center of it and ignite it with a match stick or a stove lighter.
The result of which is an expulsion of heated gas and flames that looks a lot like an errupting volcano, which is very entertaining to watch.
Is it Really Important to Entertain Your Guests While they’re Waiting for their Meal?
Actually it is not but putting a smile on your customer’s/guest’s face is something to be excited about. It’s like learning those magic card tricks – even the simple ones can inspire awe on the audience even if they’ve already seen it in a magic show somewhere.
Even though your guests will wait patiently for the meals that you’ll prepare and serve them, and they’ll probably have a nice conversation while waiting for it, you will notice them giving a glance or two at the stainless steel plate grill and whatever ingredients you’re cooking on it.
There will be times when the conversations have short or long pauses and you’ll need to break the ice. Doing teppanyaki tricks and telling one-liner jokes, for instance, will help ease the tension and keep everyone occupied.
How Will You Benefit from Your Newly Acquired Teppanyaki Tricks?
Doing teppanyaki tricks is a marketing stunt for business owners who run a teppanyaki restaurant, so if you happen to own one, then learning this skill will definitely benefit your business.
However, if you’re just a private individual whose guests are your family members and your circle of 150+ friends, then you may not benefit financially from this and you’ll most likely only get applause and praises.
You could also create a food & drink website featuring the teppanyaki grill table and sign up for one of those affiliate marketing networks and monetize your site. That’s only if you really want to make money from your significant investment on the teppanyaki grill table. If you’re fine with the reward of the appreciation of your family and friends cooking for them and etertaining them, then your happiness is complete.
Other benefits of owning a teppanyaki grill table is that it gives you additional cooking skills from the basic stuff that you already know. You might even get featured at a local TV show, a magazine article or a podcast for being one of the few people in your area who is very good at teppanyaki-style recipes.
Overall your goal for owning a teppanyaki grill table should not be geared towards financial gain unless of course, you own a restaurant.
The table is a great way to treat yourself and your guests with some delicious Japanese food.
How our Five Senses Influence our Mood and Behavior Towards Food
Someone once said that we are nothing more than the sum of our five sense and, in a way, that’s true!
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This is very much evident in our responses and preferences with food and we instantly fall in love with foods that appeal to our taste so much, while we shun those that do not appeal to our senses. It is a well-known fact that are universally appealing are consistently being liked by people from all over the world.
The Japanese teppanyaki-style recipes is a great example of this assessment and the overlapping tastes of each ingredient easily makes it everyone’s favorite no matter what season of the year it is. Anyone can refute these claims I’m making, but if you’ll actually go to Japan or in any reputable Japanese restaurant, then there’s a big chance that you’ll agree with me.