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Dinner w/a chef, what do you bring?

I'll be visiting an old classmate in May. He's an exec. chef. Um, what can I bring, that won't offend? I keep thinking we can bring a bottle of wine, but if he's cooking, he'll probably know what is best (to drink, I wouldn't, I don't drink). So, w/o offending his good taste in food, what would you bring?


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  1. A blooming orchid plant.

      1. A shot in the dark. Gunter Wilhelm makes a series of knives they call "Executive Chef". I have one. Very pretty knife with good steel and not overly expensive.


        1. I'll second neverlate's suggestion of a blooming orchid or other very nice living plant. A bottle of wine would be nice as well, it is a gift to your host not a drink for a pot luck, if he wants to serve it he will, if not it is his to drink whenever he wants - go to a nice/reputable wine store and ask for suggestions.

          1. Thanks everyone. I'll be in Hawaii, so an orchid may seem like a great choice (lots of variety and choices). And I never thought about wine being a gift, not something to have to open for dinner. Definitely a good thought and he can enjoy that with his gf. As for the knives, I don't think I would, only because I can only imagine how personal a knife is to a chef (heck, I'm an admin, and when I check out laptops, all I care about first and foremost is if I can type easily or not, lol). Great ideas. Thank you!

            1. I'll second the orchid,or if you see an unusual "liquore" we like to play around with flavor profiles.Example; my daughter in law just gave us a bottle of "Banana" ? 55% abv that is wonderful in the kitchen.Very potent in every sense and quite complex.
              ?CIROC vodka,infuse,flavor it yourself.vanilla,lavander,etc

              7 Replies
              1. re: lcool

                Ooo....good idea, esp for a chef. He can cook with it, or create something to go with it. Great idea.

                1. re: kelela92

                  Ooh, I don't know. Anything too crazy here could be a minefield. Even chefs have stuff in the back of the liquour cabinet that seemed a good idea at the time.

                  My advice would be the wine, the baked goods below, or going to a food market and see what's up. Personally I see lots of things that I like the look of but can't justify buying. Like a 750ml bottle of hand pressed olive oil for about £15. I go through olive oil like water through a sieve.

                  Or hey, some really nice organic cocoa powder, vanilla pods, high % chocolate, saffron, posh cheese....

                  1. re: Soop

                    Hmmm....I like the idea of cocoa powder. He LOVES chocolate. Not a pastry chef, but he enjoys making sweets. :)

                    1. re: Soop

                      Soop, do you have a favorite cocoa powder that I could find here in the states? I had a great, ultra-dark one that I got on vaca in Canada and cannot mailorder more. :(

                      P.S. Did you see I took a whack at your "shall we make..." thread? ;)

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        I can't find the first one I used, but it was organic fair-trade in a red can. The stuff I have now is Hotel Chocolat, which I'm not sure you have in the states.

                        Do you have Green and Blacks? I use their chocolate when cooking puddings, and it's killer.

                        I forgot about that thread, it ran away a little! I don't mind though, I've got to make some time to bake the cookies!

                        1. re: Soop

                          We do have Green and Black's--thank you! It's going on my shopping list.

                          Agreed, the other thread did stray a bit, but I was serious about the bacon and wasn't just trying to be a wise@$$. Glad you thought it was interesting. I thought your OP was a really fun idea and I credited you when I posted the recipe (my first one!). ;) Happy baking and please update your other thread if you come up with a new cookie (or flapjack) you like! Take care. >>^..^<<

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            Thanks ^__^

                            It's kind of you to say so!

                2. Since you're in California, maybe some food treats from your state. A big bag of CA pistachios, an unusual honey or olive oil, chocolates, jams or jellies from indigenous fruits and berries. Something for him to eat and cook with later on.

                  1. I strongly urge you to take the same kind of host gift you would for anyone else. A bottle of wine is always welcome. But if you normally take food of some sort that you've made yourself to other hosts -- cookies, a dessert, whatever -- then take the same thing to the chef. Chefs and great cooks are ALWAYS on the outside looking in when it comes to food gifts and/or dinner invitations. And chefs and great cooks are ALWAYS touched and very appreciative when anyone invites them for dinner, even if its peanut better and jelly sandwiches. This truly is a case of "it's the thought that counts."

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Caroline1

                      I know for a fact many chefs do not eat restaurant quality food at home. They often don't cook much at home if they can help it.

                      As Caroline said, take them your usual gift. Wine, brownies or cookies, flower...what ever you would normally do.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        Well, he offered to cook, either at his home, or for us to do a chef's table at his restaurant. So, either way, I'm getting him something for what I'm sure will be a wonderful meal. :)

                    2. I concur with Caroline1 and many of the other posters here... bring a traditional "guest-to-host gift".

                      (Without knowing the menu) I would bring a well-chilled white wine as well as a respectable red. In addition, if your host or your host's mate likes flowers, I'd pick up a bouquet of seasonal flowers.

                      That is IMO a ' thank you' in advance. After delivering that, just enjoy what is surely to be a lovely meal at his home.

                      p.s. A detailed thank you card (where you write the text) after the event is always appropriate.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ideabaker

                        "p.s. A detailed thank you card (where you write the text) after the event is always appropriate."

                        LOL. Yes yes, I will definitely send him a hand written thank you note.

                      2. i would go with a couple of bottles of good wine. He'll appreciate it and opening it would be at his discretion. Since he is cooking, I'm sure he will have appropriate wines to accompany each course anyway.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Lenox637

                          I'm thinking this may be the easiest way. Just need to find a good place to buy wine that knows what they're talking about. LOL. Cuz I don't drink, so I wouldn't know the difference.

                        2. I don't know where you live, but if you can, I would take him a food specialty from your area...ie. if you have a local honey that's famous, or brownies, or whatever, you know what I mean, I think. Have fun.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Raquel

                            Unfortunately, tha'ts the hard part. I'm in CA, he's in HI. I may ask him if he wants anything from CA since he hasn't been here in awhile (he grew up here). And there's a lot of "specialty" things in HI I'm sure he gets for his restaurant, if not for himself. I'll have to decide if I want to bring something with me to HI, or buy something there. With the airplane rules, may be easier to buy there.

                          2. I have to say, I'd laugh if after all this, the chef just served ready made pizza.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Soop

                              Honestly, I'd have a great laugh and not even care!!!! Especially, if I'm on the beach in Maui, drinking a cold one (coke for me please). He could serve me Kraft Mac and Cheese, but with those views, I'm sure I'd think it's the best thing in the world (maybe not, but you get the point).

                            2. Can't go wrong with a bottle of Jagermeister. Or a handful of Slim-Jims.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                hehehe... I actually live near the Slim-Jim factory in North Carolina, so technically they would be a "local specialty" and quite appropriate to bring as a gift according what many (including myself!) have posted. Never thought about it before, but I do have a few friends who would appreciate the joke :)

                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                  Slim-Jims, huh? interesting. I honestly wouldn't know what to do with those if someone gave them to me. How about some Jacks Links instead?

                                2. Just wanted to say you guys are great! thanks for all the suggestions. At least I have a list of things I feel better about bringing. lol.

                                  1. If you are into making your own jams, pickles, chutney, I bet the chef would appreciate a couple of home made jars . . .

                                    1. Well, it looks like we're doing a BBQ. Not sure what to bring now. I guess wine would still work. Definitely bringing some poke. :) I asked him if he'd like anything from CA. Maybe I'll make him some of my famous yummy cookies and bring those. hehehe. As long as DH doesnt' eat them first.

                                      Hmmm........is bringing wine to a bbq type thing, still good?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kelela92

                                        A BBQ, huh? You might consider, considering the chefdom, a humorous BBQ apron. I'm a guy and have a grill apron the says, "BBQ Naked - Show off your buns!" Need not be risque, but can still be a fun gift!

                                        1. re: kelela92

                                          My wife grew up in Honolulu, so we visit the islands regularly. First off, don't bring produce, because it will not be allowed in.

                                          If the chef is in Hawai'i and you're on the mainland, bring a nice selection of good cheeses in generous quantities. Hawai'i has many fine things, particularly local produce, coffee, fish, local grass fed beef, and venison, but I've found decent cheeses hard to find and expensive when you can find them.

                                        2. There's no reason that you need to bring wine that would be eaten with the meal. A bottle of good champagne is always welcome.

                                          1. Bring him something he doesn't/can't/won't make himself, like a nice artisinal cheese or chocolate.

                                            1. Make him a jar of this:


                                              Great for someone who probably comes home late and doesn't want to mess around in the kitchen.

                                              1. If he's an exec. chef like you say he will use the Orchid Blossoms in a meal too. LOL