Teppanyaki chef exercises favoritism

I actually planned to talk about this in my long pending post along with few other recent happenings until I realized that I actually have a lot more to say for this.

This actually happened at Sakae Teppanyaki, Bugis Junction. Before I plunge into the story, just want to make it clear that this is by far the first time I had experienced such unfair treatment at Sakae. (Favorite branch still in Tampines!!) It's not a total big deal, but it's very unprofessional, especially coming from a teppanyaki chef, where everything is transparent - customers see everything you are doing.

So wx and I were seated at this booth with another family of three. They were there before us, already served with some food, and were chatting with the chef quite frequently. After the chef confirmed our orders with us, he started making our garlic fried rice. For the next 10 mins, the chef only prepped food for that family. In fact, we literally finished our rice before we were served with ours. I really wondered how much food that family had ordered, because even when the chef was finally cooking for us, he was still cooking for them! Then here's where it got worse...

First dish up is the squid. Squid is a common dish in both seafood and beef set. Apparently, that x amount of squid was to be split amongst the five of us at the table - ie. 20% for the each of us. To get an exact even split is tough, but I've always seen the past teppanyaki chefs try their best at it. Do a rough split first then spread the remaining bits among those who got a smaller portion. Seriously, I think I got 10-12 pieces, plus what wx got, we got only approximately 15%. The chef, in his dear judgement, served the remaining bits (1%) to the man of that family. Okay..he is a lot bigger in size but that does not make him deserve more food than I do. We pay the same price, and the chef has no rights to deprive me of what I should be getting for him to suck up to his other customers!!

And... Should teppanyaki chefs talk while they cook? Some hygiene concerns here eh.

In direct contrast, I have seen very nice teppanyaki chefs. Not those chatty slash "friendly" type, but real service. Chinese chef at Plaza Singapura branch, very polite and the only person who bothered with us when the Malay (?) waitress was busy trying to appear occupied - slowly laying out plates at an empty table instead of serving customers first.

Maybe a training program would help? :p Would strongly suggest studying the customer service at Din Tai Feng. Even an appetizer is weighed for every customer, and waitresses are usually friendly.

Ah can't wait to have my grand teppanyaki feast in December! How grand? I should have $90 to spend on my Sakae Card soon :) That's roughly 2 meals for two at Sakae Teppanyaki.


  1. that's not a very nice experience. i can understand how a person might subconsciously give more food to the people he likes but there has got to be a limit to it...especially when it sounded like both you and wx did not have enough to eat. maybe you should have asked the chef/manager politely to make sure the same thing will not happen to another group of innocent people trying to enjoy a peaceful meal.

  2. Anonymous4:20 PM

    im a teppanyki chef my thing is if im cookin for you and im doin my best talking doin tricks and what not, and if somone is a ass being rude or just acking like there to good to have a good time or think you suck, talking crap when im right there im probly not goin to be a nice guy ill give the cool people extra before this dick gets any and if people are n ot really getting into it like not caring what i do ill just stop and cook because really i dont feel like telling dumbass jokes, or acting like a dipshit to please u and i have other tables to cook that i would probly have a better time on so pretty mutch im not sayin that your where rude when you where there maybe those people where regulars and just treated them better but best advice dont make the guy cookin your food mad or pissed off because im goin to skimp you

  3. You are absolutely right on the "regulars" thing. Just for clarity, no one was being rude or anything. I would imagine that unless the customer is disrespectful to the chef, he/she does not deserve any form of unequal treatment. It is a service industry after all. But not easy being a teppanyaki chef unless you really like doing it, interacting with customers and all that. So all the best for your career!