Ellen DeGeneres Makes Producer Andy Become a Chef at Benihana for a Day
Andy Lassner learned how to light a flaming onion volcano and flip shrimp into his coat pocket from a master teppanyaki chef at his local Benihana restaurant
Turns out that with a little bit of practice, even The Ellen Show‘s executive producer Andy Lassner can be a master hibachi grill chef. Well…excluding the many cuts and burns he received along the way.
Ellen DeGeneres is known for sending “Average” Andy on strange assignments, and this one might just be our favorite one yet. In an episode for her show’s 17th season, the 62-year-old television host arranged for master teppanyaki chef Tatsuo Komiya at her local Benihana to teach Andy how to prepare a feast — tricks and all — on the restaurant’s iconic hibachi grill, where chefs typically put on a show for guests sitting around the table.
Almost immediately, however, Lassner sustained a small finger cut and minor burn to his face from a flying shrimp. “So what’s happening now is I’m bleeding and I’m burnt in the face…but, I’m learning,” he joked to the chef. “I’ll let you know if I bleed out.”
After learning some more tips from the hibachi chef, like how to shape fried rice into a heart and balance an egg on a flat spatula, he was ready to take on the grill.
Multiple guests appeared on screen, including two young children named Lennon and Journey. The camera then panned to Lassner, who wheeled in a cart full of ingredients and cooking utensils while donning Benihana’s signature red chef’s hat and a coat.
He quickly warned the table, “I’m gonna tell you right now, you’re gonna want to sit back.” The group laughed somewhat nervously, but Lassner appeared ready for the challenge. “I’m gonna be real honest.”
“Have you ever seen a volcano?” he asked the group while haphazardly attempting to build one out of onions. “I’m building a mountain. And I’m hoping you guys have about 4 to 5 hours, cause that’s how long it’s gonna take.”
Lassner then segued into a life lesson for the kids: “Not every volcano is perfect, just like life. Because right now things are good right? You guys have a good life, great parents,” he explained. “Eventually, life is gonna bite you in the ass. And so like my life, this volcano, is imperfect.”
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Though he failed to impress the table numerous times — Journey was a particularly harsh judge — Lassner did manage to prepare multiple dishes and even sneak in a couple tricks…with the help of the master hibachi chef by his side, of course.
“Do you guys like egg rolls?” he asked the table. His guests nodded, and Lassner proceeded to roll an egg across the grill. “Here’s an egg roll.”