Sometimes I try to pinpoint the moment I decided I loved food and cooking. I certainly didn’t grow up as a young chef in training or anything. I would help my mom make lasagna, and occasionally stir together a box of brownie mix, but beyond that, I was no MasterChef Junior or anything.
My college roommates and I started cooking out of necessity (we moved into a rental house and no longer had a dining hall to feed us), and I remember really enjoying that part of the day. But my first taste of food true love might have come the first time I ate a scallop. I believe this was also in college, when my parents came to take me out to dinner, and I probably ordered something I couldn’t afford otherwise. You know, like college kids do.
From the first bite of that scallop, I was hooked. If food could be THIS delicious, I wanted to know more. That hunger for knowledge (and food) sent me working my way through dozens of cookbooks, and then on to culinary school. And when Benihana invited me to document a chef experience all about cooking seafood (scallops!) on a teppanyaki grill, I was in.
A teppanyaki grill is a large, flat iron griddle that heats up to 500 degrees, and it is the signature experience of a trip to Benihana. Guests are seated at a table that surrounds the grill, and get to interact with the chef while he or she prepares their meal. It’s a fun environment that always seems like a celebration to me, even if it’s just a Tuesday night or something.
Chef Nilson walked me through how he prepares Benihana’s Ocean Treasure: a five-course meal featuring an entrée of grilled cold water lobster tail, sea scallops and colossal shrimp. As you can imagine, on a 500 degree grill, seafood cooks pretty quickly. In fact, I think the hibachi vegetables might have taken a little longer to cook than the seafood did! It’s all about getting the cooking times right for each element of the meal, and Chef Nilson was a pro.
Ocean Treasure and all of Benihana’s teppanyaki dishes are served with onion soup, salad (ginger dressing for the win), a hibachi shrimp appetizer, hibachi vegetables, homemade dipping sauces (the sauces are so good!), steamed rice and Japanese hot green tea. It’s a feast!
P.S. The scallops were just as amazing as I had hoped.
To learn more about Benihana and to find a location near you, visit Benihana.com.
Disclosure: This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Benihana. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.