Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Jun 24, 2008 08:29 AM

Gift for Sous Chef?

We are fortunate enough to be dining with a friend at a restaurant where her fiance is the sous chef. I want to bring a gift. I was thinking of a bottle of wine, red perhaps? However, I don't drink, and I only have access to Beverages and More - do you have any recommendations? I am willing to spend up to $75. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cindy,

    You need not spend "up to $75" to get a nice bottle of wine, but your post begs two -- at least two -- questions:

    1. Do you know if the couple even like wine? After all, you wrote that you THINKING about it, and then said "red, PERHAPS" [emphasis added.]
    1a. Presuming they do like wine, do you have any idea what kind of wine they like?

    2. I gotta ask: why do you "only have access to Beveranges, and more!"?

    1 Reply
    1. re: zin1953

      Once you've thought about Jason's questions, you might want to do a bit of sleuthing, regarding the gentleman's wine preferences. A few subtle questions in passing should reveal a lot. A predisposition to, say Barolos, would tell you a lot. With your budget, you can find some very special wines. I know little of Bev-Mo, but think that they have more than cheaper everyday wines.


    2. Thanks, zin and Bill. I've heard the friend mentioning wine, so I know they drink, but not what. My friend is out of town until we meet for dinner next week, so I'm not able to subtly discern any preferences.

      Maybe buy 2 bottles, one red and one white?

      I only meant Bevmo in that I didn't have special access to any wineries. I also can get to Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Walmart. :D

      Thanks again in advance for any advice/help.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Cindy

        Whole foods here is carrying Honig at $32 a bottle which is an absolute steal. A sous chef will almost always be trying to add to a book collection so a gift certificate for a local or on line book store might be a solid choice as well.
        Another option would be a Williams Sonoma gift card. Sous Chefs do not need alcahol encouragement......LOL

        1. re: Docsknotinn

          Thanks, Doc. I like the gift card idea - WS has lots of neat stuff. Will also check out the Honig. Thanks!

        2. re: Cindy


          1) I don't know where you live in California, but I must presume there are better places to shop. Give me a city, and I'll give you several alternatives close by.

          2) Since the couple is engaged, my first thought would be to celebrate with a gift of [French] Champagne. From BevMo's website, I'd consider the following wines:

          anything from Billecart-Salmon, but especially their Brut Rose.
          Charles Heidsieck n.v. Brut Reserve
          Delamotte nv Brut
          Gosset nv Brut Grande Reserve (not their "regular" Brut)
          Heidsieck Monopole nv Brut "Blue Top"
          Larmandier-Bernier nv Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru
          anything from Pierre Gimonnet

          All are recommended, especially the last two, but ONLY if they know something about Champagne. They are less well-known among casual drinkers, and so you may want to consider Veuve Clicquot or Moet & Chandon -- something known to all -- as it may "impress" more when the see the label.


          1. re: zin1953

            Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, Jason. I live in Novato but work in Oakland, so either of those two locales would work.

            I will also check into the champagne - sounds fun!

            1. re: Cindy

              Good heavens! You're surrounded by GREAT wine shops!
              To name but a few . . .

              Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
              1605 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

              Paul Marcus Wines
              5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

              Premier Cru
              1011 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

              North Berkeley Wine Co
              1601 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94709

              Vintage Wine & Spirits
              67 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, CA

              1. re: zin1953

                On a slightly tangential note relating to Jason's post-- I don't think I'll be alone on this board in encouraging you to shop at independent wine shops when you're looking for wine, for yourself or otherwise. The staff at these smaller operations is almost always possessed of far greater wine knowledge than anyone who's working at BevMo. As such, they may be able to show you wines that will deliver bang for the buck and a bit more uniquity than anything you'll find at the big box stores. Plus it's good for the local economy!

        3. So far no bad offerings.Yes to the independent wine store.As a trained chef the gift card is a maybe,we use trade $ suppliers.But the engagement/thank you gift,why not
          divide the $ in a way that you have a very nice bottle and a really nice stem or three or ?.W&S has great wine stems ect,so will most wine merchants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lcool

            Thanks for that idea, but I think that might be a good engagement gift, right? I'll check out these local wine merchants, thanks all!