Is It Rude To Ask The Chef To Visit The Table?
I am dining at a restaurant this weekend because I saw the chef do a wonderful/kind act to someone in need on a television show. I wanted to dine at his restaurant to let him know that I thought what he did was outstanding. Is it rude to ask the chef to visit the table to let him know how I feel about what he did?
How would one go about doing this?
I think the chef would be very pleased. This isn't a situation you'll find in an etiquette book but my guess would be you should tell either the maitre d' or your waiter how wonderful it was what the chef did, that learning about his act of kindness was what inspired you to dine there, and that you would be honored if the chef would, if he found the time, stop by your table so you can tell him in person what a kind thing he had done.
It depends on what the chef does when he's back in the kitchen. In some places, the chef does both the expediting and the final plate check. Pulling the chef out of the kitchen during a busy service will really mess up the work flow in the kitchen. If it's really late in the evening, it might be okay, but during prime hours, I'd just write a nice note and have it sent back to the kitchen on my way out. The best way to recognize a chef is to come back and bring your friends.
chefs are always gratified to be asked to meet a guest, but they may or may not be able to leave the kitchen when it's a good time for you. ( i have worked for some arrogant s.o.b.'s who just couldn't be bothered too.) you could call ahead and explain yourself to the maitre d' also.
if the dinner is very good, even if you don't get to meet the chef, definitely send a note.
Probably the nicest thing you can do for a chef is to send him back a glass of some of the excellent wine you had with your meal and your compliments. Then it's up to her to decide if she wants to come out and thank you. Imagine if every customer who thought they had superior taste in food expected the chef to come out and personally acknowledge them. They'd never get anything done!
I've always been delighted when a guest wants to compliment me in person... and I think most other chefs agree.
But some judgement needs to be used as chefs (at least the good ones) are usually very busy. Make your request at a time when the restaurant isn't packed. Don't be offended if the chef simply is too busy- if they say they're too busy they really are looking out for the other guests' best interest.
If the chef can't come out to greet you a glass of wine sent back with your compliments is always deeply appreciated. Sometimes a chef will say they can't come out but then make the effort to run out if there's a moment to breathe.
And good on you for being so thoughtful. A thoughtful guest really does make our nights.
As cheesy as it may be, our supper club has requested pictures with the chef at our monthly picks (so far: Table 8, Simon LA, Mozza, Providence, Hatfield's). Surprisingly, all the chefs have granted us our request. They've always been more than gracious, and a couple of times, have even invited us back into the kitchen. It's usually on the later side, though, near closing time. And we do heap plenty of compliments on the food (which has been excellent at all the places) and tip well.