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Do A Benihana

Our kids enjoy the food and live cooking at Benihana so we periodically stop in for a little Hibachi Chicken and fried rice.  The cooks are always entertaining and it makes for a nice change in the dining experience.

However, our local Benihana is a bit different than most.  The majority of the chefs are hispanic.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that but you kinda expect a Japanese Steak House to employ Japanese, or at least Asian, chefs to be consistent with the theme.

The first time we visited the local Benihana, our table chef Juan looked at a small child at the other end of the table and said, “Do you know how to say ‘hot’ in Japanese?”

The child shook his head.

Juan said, “Caliente.”

I thought my kids were going to lose it.  They couldn’t stop laughing.

Somehow, I suspect this was not part of the usual chef script but it was a nice ad lib.

Recently my wife, son, and I went to Benihana for dinner.  Unfortunately, we got a chef in training.  Within two minutes of juggling his fork and cleaver, the fork slipped out of his hand and smashed into my wife’s soup bowl and then bounced into her dipping sauce.

No one way injured and the manager quickly apologized for the near stabbing.   Once again, my son had a good laugh.  But then, for the rest of the dinner, he kept one eye on the chef’s hands as he juggled eggs and shrimp tails.

Benihana is a great example of how to take a normal process, such as a meal, and mix it up.  It’s not quite dinner theater and the chefs are not as talented as the performers in Cirque du Soleil.  But it is entertaining.  And when you want something just a little different, it’s a wonderful change of pace.

Is there a routine in your own life or work that you could “Benihana,” so to speak?  Try adding a little caliente to your meeting, or a bit of juggling to your next business presentation.  I guarantee you’ll get a different response from your colleagues.  Just don’t throw any cooking forks.  That’s not bueno.

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