How to Become a Chef Entertainer (Hibachi Chef Training)

Hibachi chefs are entertainers and culinary arts experts that wow dinner guests with seemingly impossible coordination, skill, and sometimes humor. Unlike an executive chef who works behind closed doors in a commercial kitchen, a Hibachi chef entertains dinner guests during the entire food preparation process. For food aficionados that love to tell stories and have a knack for flair, becoming an entertainment chef is only a few, well-planned steps away.

There are two ways to become a chef entertainer: school or work experience. Although it is possible with many years working as an underling, the fastest path is to attend a culinary arts school where you must first learn the basics of food preparation and cooking. Working at a restaurant that uses hibachi chefs to entertain guests is a good step toward becoming a chef entertainer, but prior training or knowledge of food is necessary.

One can learn how the chef does the job at a hibachi grill, but it is more important to know why.  Because food is prepared in front of a live audience, it is very important for a hibachi chef to know all about the food, the cooking techniques, nutritional values, and more. People ask questions and a good chef will always know the answer. (A great hibachi chef is usually great at making that answer as entertaining as possible.)

During culinary arts school, chefs are trained in all things food-related. Most students start with basics (nutrition, food groups, and tools) and then move on to advanced courses in preparation methods, cooking techniques, and presentation. Once a chef is an expert on all of the knowledge required to be an ‘executive chef’ in a commercial kitchen, then he or she is ready to train as a chef entertainer.

The most reliable method for hibachi chef training is to ‘put yourself into the fire’, so to speak. This means taking a job at an establishment that is already working with hibachi chef entertainers. As a new chef, you will learn how to prepare foods for the hibachi chef that works in the dining room. With time, hibachi chefs in training will observe the role of the hibachi chef.

To be a great chef entertainer, you need to be able to tell stories and perform various tricks that will delight your dinner guests. This can include special knife techniques, working with open flames, juggling, and a number of other special skills. Trained hibachi chefs pride themselves on having a ‘unique’ talent – so you will need to spend some time developing a talent that makes you special as a chef entertainer.

If you hope to be hired by the establishment where you spend time as a  hibachi chef in training, it is important to practice responsible work ethics. It goes without saying, but showing up on time, being excited about the job, and always paying attention to the details will go a long way in securing a job in the future. Disclose to your supervisor and to hibachi chefs that you want to become a chef entertainer.

So, to sum up: Becoming a trained chef entertainer takes time and dedication, but there are only 4 steps in getting there.

  1. Go to school. Learn all that you can about the culinary arts.
  2. Find kitchen work at a restaurant or establishment that hires hibachi chefs.
  3. Express your desire to learn and closely observe other chefs. Let them train you over time.
  4. Consistently show your interest and dedication while cultivating your own unique style.

In time, you could be promoted to ‘chef in training’, which allows you the ability to actually work with a trained chef. Learning the trade can take six months to a year, but is well worth it if you truly enjoy the art of entertainment as much as you enjoy the art of cooking.