HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Best Compliments from Guests

After reading & thinking about recent threads regarding entertaining, I'd love to hear from people about great compliments on their food preparation efforts. There's nothing better than appreciative guests, don't you think? Makes it all worthwhile & makes you want to invite them over and over again.
Here are some of my best compliments:
My best friend, who has complimented my cooking with words, is also appreciative judging from his actions, such as these:
1. Drinking up the remaining dressing from empty salad bowl
2. Tossing head back, eyes closed, & taking in the flavors of the food, 'coming back' with his eyes shining & a smile!
3. When asked which dessert (when there are more than one), he says: a piece of each, of course! Same with a soup choice, he will have 2 even 3 different ones!
Another shy, quiet & polite friend, when he asked the origin of the recipe for my spinach pie & I replied Greece, he abruptly exclaimed "f**k the Greek!" in a tone that convinced me that it was definitely a compliment! :) I broke out in laughter after that one!
Another experience:
I recently made apple pies, a pumpking pie, muffins and a plum/berry crumble (not on the same day) for guests visiting from France and they were so appreciate. They said the 'pastries' I make are the absolute best and that they don't make good pastries like that in France. Imagine! They're being nice, but it's so flattering.

Share some of yours!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A very well known chef once told me my Osso Bucco was the best he ever had...I was pretty proud of myself. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Frenchie

      The only compliment that makes me really grin is "this is the best ________ I have ever had." All else sort of falls short, especially given that everyone nowadays seems so amazed when ANYONE actually cooks ANYTHING.

    2. The nicest compliment I ever heard was made by a well-known baker and pastry chef from New York (he baked a birthday cake for Pres. Clinton) about a little girl's oatmeal raisin cookies. She was about 14, just learning to bake. Her cookies were served for dessert alongside the pear tarte tatin. The famous man ate one thoughtfully, breaking the cookie and examining the crumb. He told the child that oatmeal raisin was a difficult cookie because it tended to spread too thinly in the oven but hers were just right. He then ate a second cookie.

      She was in heaven. I thought it was the most wonderfully gracious gesture anyone could have made.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cheryl_h

        This reminds me that because many of us are so into cooking, that we ARE the experts to lots of our friends/family/co-workers and that OUR compliments are taken very much to heart. I am simply a good home cook - but to lots of people I know, I am a 'gourmet cook'. When I give them a compliment and ask for a recipe, some of them just glow! We can give this same feeling that this 14 year old novice cook had!

        1. re: kim shook

          You may be only one person in the world,
          But you may also be the world to one person.

          This came in an e-mail the other day. Sorry, the picture didn't paste.

      2. I recently moved to San Antonio from Montana. I made guacamole for several people, both Mexicans and Anglos who have lived here for years. I've had several people tell me that it was the best they ever had and asked me to bring it to dinner parties.

        I felt this was the best compliment I ever had, especially considering the sources and the abundance of Mexican food here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: saeyedoc

          Could you please post your recipe on the Cooking Board? Would love to try it for snacking while watching the football games this Sunday. TIA

        2. "My children will only eat barbecued ribs at your house."

          1. Not long ago, I'd been talking about paella with a couple of foodie friends, and was surprised they'd never eaten it. So I invited them over for dinner and, obviously, made a huge batch of paella. My recipe feeds 8. The two of them, who probably weigh 180 pounds together, ate the entire thing, and scraped the pot clean.
            I had to make it again about a week later, to use up the rest of the saffron, and so I could have some.

            My ex's best friends once drove from Seattle (to Portland) because she'd mentioned I was making lasagna.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PDXpat

              "and so I could have some."

              That's a great line!

            2. When they ask to take leftovers home with them.

              1. A great compliment IMO is not just asking for the recipe, but telling me later on they made it and everyone enjoyed the dish.

                1. I used to make cookies for my husband to bring to his office in Miami, where he worked with several Frenchmen. Once I sent in Orange Cookies, from a tried and true recipe of my grandmother's, who was born and died in a small town in SW PA. They insisted that the recipe must be French, since they were so good (and implicitly, I suppose, not American) - a bit of a back handed compliment I suppose, but I took it the nice way!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I send a lot of my cookies to my husband's work and one time one of his co-workers said, "Katie must not love us anymore because she hasn't sent us cookies in a looooong time!" They are always excited to see what I bring to the work functions and that makes me happy!

                    Also, whenever I cook something for my husband's family, they always say that his grandma would have loved me... that brings tears to my eyes!

                  2. Love it when people say "I always thought that I hated x until I ate your x".

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      I got this one with my brussels sprouts. Caramelizing them with bacon, shallots and a balsamic reduction will do that for almost any odious ingredient :)

                      1. re: foodiegrl

                        I love that one and have got it several times. I had friends over and cooked about 6 things with squash and found out AFTER the dinner that 4 of the 8 people 'hated' squash and they had just eaten everything up and asked for seconds. I had cooked enough that I thought I'd have leftovers to freeze for about 4 meals -- no all gone!

                        I've also convinced friends that they don't hate raisins, rice pudding, and a bunch of other things.

                    2. I get that one too, Sam. My favorite one was when I made some creme brulee. One of my guests picked up their bowl and licked it clean enough you couldn't tell it from a freshly washed one.

                      1. My SO sometimes says: "I want this every night, from now on."
                        He's not serious, of course, but I know he liked it!

                        1. My first attempt at mole was Thanksgiving two years ago. Of course, it made a ton so I brought some to my friend who hails from Guerrero, MX. Brought over a pint. He took a taste of it (cold) and proceeded to head back to the kitchen. Came back with a basket of fresh tortillas and ate all the mole.

                          Wouldn't share it with his family; just ate the whole thing. Tells all his friends about the gringa who makes mole from scratch.

                          1. "You should open a restaurant."

                            Also, at various times my guests have told me that certain dishes (carbonara, braised lamb shanks, and risotto) are the best they've ever had - that always feels good.

                            1. A chef's applause is silence.

                              1. I like to measure satisfaction by how little people speak during the meal. I find overly effusive compliments to be pretty embarassing.

                                That said, I was very flattered when a friend told me that one woman in a group I had cooked for confided that she wanted to...well, let's just say that she wanted to repay me in a big way on the dining room table.

                                1. 2 compliments.

                                  For my hubby, when people who don’t even know him request him doing the asado at gatherings because they heard he was good.
                                  And from my 6 year old daughter, “Mommy, you make the best macaroni and cheese”...since I am not big at cooking this brings tears to my eyes.

                                  1. I had a dinner guest pick up a platter, emptied of grilled steak and drink the juices off of it. I thought my brother might never recover.

                                    1. I make cakes and cookies for my mother's social club and church meetings. The decorative platters and plates always return home empty, and if I ever ask my mom to reserve a slice for me, it's either "it was all gone by the time I was ready to leave," or "they all kind of gathered around...and then there was none."

                                      1. I got a spontaneous standing ovation after serving a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner for 24; that was pretty darned gratefying.

                                        I entered a holiday dessert bake-off at my office and lost for a wonderful reason. Apparently, my French butter cookies were the judges' favorite for both taste and appearance, but my boss later explained that they were were disqualified because they were too perfect-looking and the judges refused to believe they were homemade.

                                        1. I have a vegetarian friend who only ever strays and eats meat when at my house. I have offered to make him a vegetarian option. In fact I hosted a few vegetarian parties were all the dishes were veggie and everyone certainly ate them -- my carnivore friends couldn't believe that a veggie meal would be satisfying! But, this veggie friends now tells me that he doesn't care if I make him a veggie option when he comes over and when I asked him why he'd be willing to not stay veggie when at my place he said 'because the food and the meat that you cook is so good that I don't care'. That was great! One asked for a recipe for the biryani and then thought for a second and said 'don't bother, I don't think I could give it to mother and ask her to change her's'.

                                          My next fave was when I made a buffet meal for my the chess team at my father's school. I made an Indian buffet with Veg. Biryani, Saag Gosht, Aloo Gobi, Murgh Makhani, and Malabar Shrimp. I had several of the Indian students tell me that the food was better than their mother's or grandmother's and girl said it was better than her uncle's who is the chef at an Indian restaurant. Great compliments for a WASP like me.

                                          1. The funniest I ever got: "Wow, this lasgna tastes so REAL!" He explained that he had thought a non-Italian like me couldn't make a real lasagna.

                                            The most appreciated and sincere compliments I get on my cooking are the ones I get from my two kids. They do thumbs up, thumbs sideways, thumbs ever so slightly down, etc.

                                            1. At a pot-luck meal, the best compliment is seeing that the item you brought has been completely obliterated, down to the very bottom of the pan and even the last crusty bits around the edges(not that I'm gloating or anything, but especially when other people's contributions have only been half eaten).

                                              Also, I once made a Moroccan carrot salad, following a recipe from a cookbook, and served it to the Moroccan parents of a friend. Her mother tasted it and said, "Mmmm...just like my mother used to make."

                                              1. It's interesting that all of these replies focus solely on the food ("entertaining" is much more than food, no?). To me, the best compliment is when people linger for a long time after a meal. To me, creating a good environment in which to eat is as, if not sometimes more, important than the food itself. Good food from an uptight, anxious host can suck (pardon the bluntness). Making guests happy and comfortable takes a lot of attention and empathy independent of the cooking. Not that I don't appreciate a compliment about the food-- it's just not my first criterion for judging how a meal has gone...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Procrastibaker

                                                  I think is b/c the OP asked about compliments on "food preparation efforts" - but I agree, there is a lot more to entertaining than just the food.