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Mar 12, 2008 03:15 PM

Do you like seeing the chef in the dining room?

My dude and i were having a discussion about this. For some reason, it kinda bothers the both of us...while i know chef's like to get a feel for how the evening is going, what's being enjoyed/not, i can't help but feel intruded ..often times, whillst strolling they'll ask the table "are you enjoying everything?" of course i'm going to say, "everything is great! thanks!" not, "I think the blahblahblah was overcooked"...Do they expect honesty from us or just and ego boost? Am i alone in my discomfort?

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  1. I give it to the chef straight up.

    If you're going to ask, you better be prepared for the honest truth.

    I once told a chef that his salmon made the croutons I had with my soup moist by comparison.

    4 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I agree, and have done a critique of every dish, should they care to hear.


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          One day at lunch chef asked me how I liked my Reuben. I told him it didn't do justice to his wonderful house-made sauerkraut. My suggestion of changing from the open-faced version which dried out the meat to a more conventional closed and grilled sandwich was accepted very graciously and, a week later, the change had been made. Unfortuneately, the place had other more serious and closed 6 months later.

          1. re: grampart

            I hope that the chef took the criticism to heart, and maybe reevaluated the recipe.

            However, their other issues took front-stage, but maybe he moved on?

            I never hesitate to offer my criticism, in hopes that they at least register - they do not have to be addressed initially, but I would like the chef to think about them.


      2. I'm with ipsedixit. If they ask I'll be honest. I like it if they come out. To me it means they care.

        (I thought you were going to ask about "open concept" dining. Which I'm not a fan of. Loud clanging is annoying! )

        The chef "mulling around" is appreciated by me

        1. It depends. You can definitely tell who's doing it because they're genuinely interested versus those who do it because it's good PR. I find that you get a couple of different types of people who do it for PR reasons -- the ones who love the accolade and the ones who hate being in public but realize that it's for the good of the restaurant.

          1. Love the chef coming round - so long as its towards the end of service.

            Last time it happened, I asked him how the move to his new location was going (they'd moved 150 miles or so). He said fine. And this two days after he'd lost his second Michelin star. HAH!

            1. I hate when they come out dripping in sweat and very dirty. Generally, no, I don't think I do. And I do wish we could be honest with them when they do ask. You'd think that was the point. Not just to boost their ego's any more than they already are.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mmuch

                Argh. One of the slowest dining experiences ever including very mediocre middlebrow Italian cuisine. Everyone at our table and, eventually, new patrons, wondering what's going on with the kitchen. Two hours into what should have been a 90 min meal including drinks, coffee, dessert(we we're just getting our entrees) comes the chef, sweaty, grimy, wild-eyed(hmm) asking after our dinners...

                ...everyone politely demurred but we were all thinking...what in the world are you doing greeting the diners? Get back in the kitchen!