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Is this a good way of sending my compliments to the chef?

micheniche Feb 7, 2010 03:50 AM

I'm a frequent customer of one of the best contemporary french restaurants in the place I live. Recently, my visit has been such a buzz amongst my family members because he made us a very delectable foie gras parfait and it was actually a complementary dish. This has not happened only once. Not only that, he even gave us truffle butter to go with our bread ( a must before most meals if this is alien to you ) instead of the standard herbed butter that most customers would get.

Once, my sister asked if he could make a chocolate fondant dessert for her, he made one for her and it was free as well.

Therefore, my sister decided to give him her homemade tiramisu ( 10 out of 10 people have tried it and all ten of them loved it, so it's foolproof ) as a form of compliment to him on our next visit, which will be pretty soon.

What do you guys think?

p.s: Pardon my mistakes if there are any. I don't really know how to put this in words.

  1. b
    brad87561 Feb 20, 2010 07:08 PM

    Extremely fine or rare wine would be a great gift, however, your frequent returns and obvious appreciation, are really the best gift. As a culinary professional, I'll tell you, we just want to have our huge, yet fragile egos stroked.

    1. shaogo Feb 9, 2010 03:08 PM

      Ask someone who works at the restaurant if the chef has a drink after work. Find out what he drinks, and buy him a bottle of it.

      I just get the feeling that if this fellow is quite an accomplished chef (who loves to be loose with stuff like truffles and foie gras) might think it a bit strange that you're gifting him food. On the other hand, take a cue from the guy's size; if he looks like he loves to eat, by all means, ask someone at the restaurant if he likes tiramisu (I'm assuming the restaurant doesn't serve it). If he does, what the heck -- give it to him. I've seen some strange gifts given to chefs over the years, and this in comparison seems like a nice gesture -- from the heart.

      When I give a chef a gift of food, it's usually well-researched and something that the chef may not be able to get his hands on himself. A special cheese, some sort of imported condiment not available here, that kind of thing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: shaogo
        micheniche Feb 9, 2010 03:42 PM

        I've decided on a note. Or maybe an on-the-spot compliment.

        Well, my sister makes tiramisu using the following ingredients: kahlua, bourbon vanilla pods, vanillin sugar, raw sugar, mascarpone and the usual stuff that a proper/ authentic tiramisu needs.

        We've decided not to give it now because a lot of people advised against it. Thank you anyway. :)

        1. re: micheniche
          danna Feb 18, 2010 05:36 AM

          Once I was sitting at a sushi bar and overheard a lady inform the chef/owner she was going to bring him some of her famous pimento cheese. I remember thinking "what an idiot" But then...just recently I was talking with my current fave sushi chef (who does fabulous things for my husband and me...and still charges us for the cheapo lunch special) about her recent foray into baking. i was overwhelmed with the desire to make her a layer cake. But I guess I won't, based on the responses here, and my own reaction to the pimento cheese lady.

          I guess food is like a child...when it's your own you start thinking it's not ugly ;-)

          1. re: danna
            c
            cinnamon girl Feb 19, 2010 02:10 PM

            Well just to contradict myself I don't think taking her baking would be weird in this case. Layer cake isn't likely something they do already and more important, you've been having baking discussions with her. It would just be a continuation of the conversation; just sharing something of yourself. It would contribute to the ongoing baking discussion and reciprocate the generosity.

      2. k
        Kater Feb 9, 2010 02:30 PM

        I would not recommend that you follow that course of action. It would likely come across as quite odd. If you would like to give the chef a gift, a bottle of wine would be appropriate.

        1. m
          mandycat Feb 8, 2010 08:25 AM

          I have to go along with the nice-note-and-gift-card lobby. Even better than a gift card to a specific store would be an American Express gift card that the chief can use many places, includubg other restaurants. Maybe he'd like to have someone else cook dinner for a change.

          1. c
            cinnamon girl Feb 7, 2010 09:25 PM

            No it's like taking coals to Newcastle. A handwritten note with maybe a gift card in it, if you want to give something, would be nice. (Maybe to a cookbook or kitchen wares store.)

            The last time someone proudly served her famous tiramisu, that supposedly everyone loves, my heart sunk b/c I knew I was going to have to eat some to be polite. The combination of cream, hootch and coffee, for me, is just a headache and oogie tummy on a plate. But guess what: I took the smallest piece I could and said it was lovely. Maybe it was your sister. Maybe I was one of the ten out of ten.

            1. PeterL Feb 7, 2010 06:59 PM

              A very good bottle of wine would be my choice.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PeterL
                Azizeh Feb 7, 2010 09:14 PM

                I agree. I wouldn't really enjoy homemade baked goods from a stranger, no matter how good they are.

                The next time I were there, I'd ask the server or host or sommelier if they know if the chef has any particular preferences. Maybe he's a tequila drinker. I always try to steer away from generic gifts when possible.

                1. re: PeterL
                  lynnlato Feb 9, 2010 03:49 PM

                  Also agreed. A long time ago I remember reading a thread about this same topic and several chefs chimed and said how they would most enjoy a bottle of good wine/gin/scotch. A nice gesture with a note of thanks.

                2. ipsedixit Feb 7, 2010 06:39 PM

                  Hand write him a nice thank you note on nice stationery, or a nice card.

                  Not every one likes tiramisu, and some chefs would find it odd, even a bit of threatening, to have one of his better and more loyal customers offering him a homemade dessert.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    c oliver Feb 7, 2010 06:54 PM

                    I agree with you. esp. the part about the note being on nice stationery. No pre-printed thank you cards please. And someone mentioned on another thread, where's the chef supposed to put this when at work. Finally I loathe tiramisu and pretty much dislike most desserts. So if the chef were like I, that would be a totally thankless gift.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      micheniche Feb 7, 2010 10:59 PM

                      Hmm, a handwritten note is a good idea. :)

                      Okay, so there's this issue about hating desserts...

                      1. re: micheniche
                        jfood Feb 8, 2010 09:54 AM

                        It's not about "hating desserts." It's more of the manner it which it might be viewed by the chef. Likewise think of MCdonalds. Lots of people love them, jfood ain't eating them.

                        Here are a couple of POVs the chef may take

                        1 - Wow this is great. I gotta get the recipe
                        2 - Are they telling me that they did not like the chocolate and this is better
                        3 - Oh great, now I have someone bringing me desserts to put on the menu

                        Since it is unclear about the chef, jfood would recommend NOT giving a food dish. Theother suggestions are great though.

                        1. re: jfood
                          c oliver Feb 8, 2010 10:38 AM

                          I think micheniche might be referring to the fact that *I* hate (too strong a word but close) desserts.

                    2. re: ipsedixit
                      Chemicalkinetics Feb 18, 2010 05:45 AM

                      I agree with ipsedixit. Not sure about threatening-threatening, but threatening in a confusing way.

                    3. rednyellow Feb 7, 2010 06:24 PM

                      I think its a lovely gesture. Its a gift from the heart, its home made and its food. How can that be bad to a chef?

                      1. c
                        chow_gal Feb 7, 2010 07:47 AM

                        I'd go with a special bottle of wine that is not on their wine list. To me, home made items are best given to people we already have a personal relationship with. And to a chef who is obviously quite talented? it may be a bit corny.

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