It’s a concept I personally first came across a few years ago when I was watching a magazine show about footballers plying their trade in European clubs and I thought they just invited the very recognisable footballer and the show’s host back into the kitchen to help prepare the dish they ordered just because the cameras were there, but it actually turned out to be an actual thing. There are indeed restaurants which allow guests to help prepare their own dishes and the concept appears to have caught on in a big way all around the world, although in a rather understated manner.
The Melting Pot (USA Chain)
For most restaurants which offer this type of cook-it-yourself experience, it’s an individual decision, but with The Melting Pot (a chain restaurant in many locations around the United States) it’s their “thing”. The cook-it-yourself concept available at this restaurant takes inspiration from something which is somewhat of a standard practice in many parts of Asia, where the meat and vegetables which are to form part of your dish are cooked right at your table. Unlike the small pots used in the Asian restaurants, here the veggies or meat cook in a pot of boiling water or broth prior to the cooked food being dipped in a selection of cheeses and sauces to be enjoyed as part of a very hands-on dining experience.
Nanjya Monjya Japanese Restaurant (Singapore)
The Japanese dish known as Okonomiyaki is this Singaporean restaurant’s specialty which you can have quite a bit of fun preparing for yourself. This means that you can pretty much prepare just the right portion you’re going to consume and you don’t have to clean up after yourself. There are a few options of flavours available such as Pork Belly and Mixed Seafood Okonomiyaki to name but just two, but the fun comes in when you decorate and garnish your concoction with spatula in hand.
There’s apparently only a very small selection of restaurants in Singapore which offer a D-I-Y food preparation option such as this.
Korean Grill House (Toronto, Canada)
You’ll perhaps enjoy better surroundings if you get seated downstairs at the Korean Grill House, but either way this restaurant offers a South East Asian type of dining influence to go with the Korean cuisine on offer. You perhaps won’t really be eating anything out of the ordinary, but it makes for a great setting for a date with a grill in the middle of the table used to cook the meat and vegetables you’ll be eating. It never gets tired over here because there really is a lot of variety on offer.
Piero’s (Ingatestone, England)
Tratorria-style cooking is complemented with some super pizzas to choose from and this little gem of an Italian restaurant really brings the concept of helping to prepare your own dish to life. The restaurant is operated by a duo of the owner and her brother and while some high-end gourmet dishes are available, the environment is very warm and intimate, almost like you’re visiting as a house guests. Ask to help prepare your food and take your dining to the next level in this way.