When Benihana approached me about collaborating, it was an instant “yes.” The teppanyaki-style restaurant is an equally delicious and entertaining dining experience. I recently went to the Benihana in Lombard to experience their “Be the Chef” program. How could I resist the opportunity to learn how to make an onion volcano?!


I loved the Be the Chef program, and the food was seriously good (I couldn’t stop eating the fried rice). The experience combines a hands-on cooking class with dinner. The best part is that it’s only $200 for a package for the chef and three people. You can also add more guests for an additional fee. Here’s how it works: one person gets to experience a one-on-one training session with a Benihana chef.


Once you master some tricks (maybe the video evidence shows that I didn’t exactly “master” any tricks) and learn how to make fried rice and other Benihana favorites, you get to come back to the restaurant with three guests and impress them with your new skills.

When I arrived in Lombard I met Grace, the restaurant’s General Manager, and Fausto, a chef who has been working with Benihana for 16 years. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was in awe of Fausto’s way of theatrically cooking. I was eager to try it myself.

We started small by making the appetizers. We prepped the hibachi grill with a touch of sunflower oil and then cooked shrimp, chicken, zucchini and onions. Fausto was right beside me showing me how to hold the tools. He was kind, encouraging and full of enthusiasm.


Fausto might have overestimated my ability to do some of the tricks, but that’s okay. My onion volcano was pretty solid though, and it is a trick I can break out the next time I am cooking in front of friends. The best part was getting to enjoy the meal after I cooked it.

Have you been to Benihana? It would be a really fun double date or girls’ night out.

This post was originally published on The Kittchen.