Chris tries out hibachi grill skills in Benihana chef training

You know those restaurants where they cook on a hibachi grill with the knives and food flipping right in front of you? It’s a tough skill. Not just anyone can do it. Actually, anyone can do it — because they let Chris Van Vliet try in this week’s Keeping Up With Chris.

While the food at Benihana is amazing, the show is what really brings you in! Those chefs are incredibly talented, so I’m sitting there at dinner the other day and I said to myself, I said, “Chris Van Vliet, do you think you could do what they do?” Let’s find out.

The fire! The tricks! And the food! This is what the Benihana experience is all about!

But I wondered, could I do what these talented chefs do? I enrolled in the Be the Chef program at Benihana in Fort Lauderdale to find out.

Cedric Moog, chef: “Before we get started, you have to look the part.”

Chris Van Vliet: “OK. Oh, yeah, all right!”

Cedric Moog: “Here’s your Benihana hat and the Benihana apron.”

Chris Van Vliet: “And now we’re ready to do it.”

Anyone can do this, by the way. The Be the Chef program at Benihana costs $200 for you and three of your friends.

(throws knife)

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh! This seems very dangerous!”

Cedric Moog: “You signed your waiver, right?”

Chris Van Vliet: “I signed my wavier.”

(tries to flip spatula, it falls)

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh, don’t show that.”

(tries again, succeeds at flipping spatula)

Chris Van Vliet: “OK! OK!”

With our first trick out of the way, the cooking begins!

(slides lump of rice onto grill)

Cedric Moog: “Bam!”

This is the start of Benihana’s famous fried rice.

Cedric Moog: “This is another trick people love, it’s called the egg roll.”

(flips the egg)

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh!”

Cedric Moog: “Want to do it Chris?”

Chris Van Vliet: “You think I can do it?”

(I flip the egg and it breaks.)

Chris Van Vliet: “Ohhhh, no! No!”

(flips egg, catches it)

Chris Van Vliet: “OK. OK. I caught it! Now what?

Now we mix up the rice, with a twist, of course.

(tap tap, tap tap)

Chris Van Vliet: “It’s a beating heart.”

Spice it up, and then we serve it up — Benihana style!

Cedric Moog: “Don’t let go of the bowl, toss it up.”

(I toss rice from one bowl to the other.)

Chris Van Vliet: “Whoa!”

Now it’s time to grill up the shrimp.

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh, this guy didn’t want to flip!

And if you’ve been to Benihana before, you know the chef flips the shrimp tails into his hat.

(flips shrimp, it falls)

Chris Van Vliet: “Did I do it?”

Cedric Moog: “No. (laughs)”

We grill up some meat…

Chris Van Vliet: “Fill it to the top? Oh, yeah! Look at it!”

And then Cedric teaches me my favorite trick.

(taps spatula on grill to make train sound)

Chris Van Vliet: “It’s a choo-choo train!”

And with that, we plate it up!

Chris Van Vliet: “All right, so Cedric, we’re going to show off the finished product? Can you guys guess which one I cooked?”

Chris Van Vliet and Cedric Moog: “Thank you very much. Arigato.”

Not bad, right? Not great, but not bad. They even said they’d hire me. Who cares if it’s just to be the busboy?

If there’s something you wanna see me try out — and come on, you know there is, send it to me at and we’ll see what we can do.

And sure, the food I cooked didn’t look great, but like my grandfather always says, it all looks the same in the end. You know what I mean.

Benihana – Be the Chef program

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