Teppanyaki: A Performative Culinary Art

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Teppanyaki: A Performative Culinary Art

Teppanyaki: A Performative Culinary Art

Teppanyaki is regarded as one of the most popular Japanese cuisines worldwide – and for good reason, too. 

However, teppanyaki is more than a culinary art: it is a performative art. Teppanyaki chefs are specially trained to not only master the culinary art of teppanyaki but to also elevate the Teppanyaki dining experience to the next level.

So in what ways is teppanyaki a performative culinary art? In this article, we’ll be talking all about this. If you want to learn more and polish up your teppanyaki knowledge, then please keep on reading.

What Is Teppanyaki?

Before we discuss how teppanyaki is a performative art, let’s first talk about the culinary aspects. 

Teppanyaki is a Japanese style of cooking that makes use of an iron plate to cook an arrangement of food. This can range from meat, seafood, noodles, and other sidings such as vegetables. Other seasonings such as soy sauce, vinegar and more are also served alongside the main courses.

The teppanyaki style of cooking varies greatly. The ingredients of Japanese-style teppanyaki often involve yakisoba, sliced meat, seafood, and cabbage. They are usually cooked with vegetable oil, animal fat, or both.

Meanwhile, Western-style teppanyaki often uses ingredients such as beef, scallops, chicken, lobster, shrimp, and veggies. Soybean oil is typically used to cook these ingredients.

Teppanyaki Performative Culinary Art

Teppanyaki Cooking Turned Performance Style

The teppanyaki dining experience is truly a unique one. Aside from the exquisite dishes, teppanyaki is unique because it is also a performance. 

Teppanyaki chefs are specially trained to perform various tricks and techniques to help bring entertainment value to the teppanyaki dining experience.

In the teppanyaki dining experience, guests are seated around a large table that has large steel hotplates, known as a teppan grill, in the middle of it. The chef stands by the table and performs for the guests while they are watching the chef in action.

Teppanyaki chefs begin the performance by showing off the tools. They typically toss, flip, drum, and clang knives, forks, and spatulas together. 

From here, the teppanyaki chefs prepare the food by chopping and dicing the ingredients. They also set the grill alight which helps make the experience much more thrilling and interesting.

As the chefs cook the food, they can also perform an array of clever tricks. Some of these may include:

  • Flipping shrimp tails into their shirt pockets
  • Catching eggs in their hat
  • Throwing eggs into the air and spilling it open with a spatula
  • Flipping shrimp pieces into the mouths of the guests
  • Creating an onion ring fire-shooting volcano
  • Juggling various utensils 

So, while teppanyaki entails a skilful ability to cook food, it also requires an extreme level of knife skills and food tricks. 

Historically, the performance aspect of teppanyaki was introduced in order to attract foreigners to eat teppanyaki. Because of this, the performance aspect of teppanyaki is equally as important as the culinary aspect.

Teppanyaki Performative Culinary Art

Teppanyaki Cooking Tricks

There are some particularly iconic teppanyaki cooking tricks. Here are just a few of them:

1). General Knife And Spatula Handling

Supreme knife skills are essential for every teppanyaki chef to master. Teppanyaki chefs throw spatulas and knives into the air, turn it over and grab it, or rotate the spatula seamlessly as demonstrations of these knife skills.

Rapidly cutting teppanyaki ingredients is also a skill and trick that many teppanyaki chefs have to master.

2). The Fried Rice Heart

The fried rice heart is another popular teppanyaki trick. As the name suggests, teppanyaki chefs make a heart-shaped out of fried rice. It is quite symbolic of their passion for cooking and serving to their guests.

3). The Egg Juggle Or Toss

Egg juggling and tossing is an iconic trick that teppanyaki chefs perform. They often like throwing eggs into the air and splitting them open with the spatula. They can also juggle eggs, throw them into the air, crack them, and let the yolk fall onto the iron plate to cook.

4). The Onion Volcano

The onion volcano is perhaps the most identifiable teppanyaki cooking trick. Teppanyaki chefs create an onion mountain and set it alight in front of guests. It is quite thrilling and entertaining to watch.


Teppanyaki is more than simply cooking the food. The entertainment value provided by its unique performances makes teppanyaki dining an unmatched experience. Teppanyaki chefs are highly skilled professionals who will always ensure that you get the most out of your teppanyaki dining experience.

If you are in Melbourne and want to enjoy an authentic Japanese Restaurant in Doncaster, you simply can’t go past Kobe Teppanyaki.

For reservations please call us today on 03 9841 9889 or visit here for bookings and enquiries.

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