This post is sponsored by Benihana, but all opinions are the author’s own.

Most people have dined at Benihana at some point in their lives – if not for the awesome food, then for the entertainment. On multiple occasions, I have sat around the teppanyaki table with friends and conversed about how fun it must be to flip eggs into your hat, light food on fire, and create delicious food for a living. It turns out, Benihana lets you live that dream for a day.

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The “Be the Chef” program allows you to come in to your local Benihana, join a professional teppanyaki chef, and learn the tricks of the trade. From seafood to land fare and from veggies to their famous fried rice, you watch how it all comes together right in front of you. After you’ve mastered (or tried to master) their signature chef moves, the package includes a dinner for your family and friends. The catch? YOU cook for them. As soon as I heard about this package, I made the phone call. $200 for you, the guest chef, and three friends? And I get to wear that giant hat and flip an egg into it? I was sold.

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Two days later, I joined a chef in an attempt to learn the art of teppanyaki, which is a Japanese way of cooking with poultry, meat, or seafood with vegetables made on a hot steel grill. I was greeted at the door by an extremely nice chef who handed me my VERY authentic Benihana hat and apron. He then led me to the teppanyaki table and explained what we were going to do. Little did he know I am the most uncoordinated human being on this planet, but he took the necessary precautions. We started with the fried rice and beating heart, which was surprisingly easy to make and delicious as always. He let both me and my friend try making the rice. At this point, I thought I had the hang of it. Although, I still wouldn’t trust me around sharp utensils.

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We moved on to the veggies which, as most of you know, include the famous onion volcano. I will say this now: the onion tower is a lot harder to build than you think. So give your chef props next time you go in for a meal. Luckily, I was taught well and mastered this move in front of my friends (avoiding the humiliation). After the veggies were done, out came the shrimp and steak. These were a lot easier to make, which made me look like a pro. As the dinner neared its end, I needed to try the egg/hat trick. Unfortunately and expectedly, I did end up breaking two eggs in my hat, BUT I hear egg yolk is a good conditioner.

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Regardless of my unfortunate lack of coordination, the chef did a great job teaching and walking me through the steps. He was also there during the family and friends cooking portion just in case I needed help at any point. The dinner included a soup, salad, fried rice, hibachi vegetables, shrimp appetizer, the Splash N’ Meadow entrée, and all the sauces and hot green tea you would like. It was a great experience to say the least and a must try in my book!

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