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Aug 14, 2011 03:44 PM

Tipping sushi chefs?

I was just reading another thread about tipping in sushi restaurants, and am now wondering if I'm doing something wrong. People were talking specifically about tipping sushi chefs. When I sit at a sushi bar, I usually add 20% or so to the bill when it's presented. I have always assumed that this is shared between the servers (who bring drinks, cooked items, etc.) and the chefs. Although I often buy the sushi chefs a beer, I have never tipped them separately. I am a regular at this particular sushi restaurant and am always greeted warmly by my favorite sushi chef, so I've never even thought twice about whether I was doing something wrong. Should one tip the sushi chef separately, or is simply tacking a tip onto the bill, as one would normally do, just fine?

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  1. Well, there is a japanese place that we frequent, we generally sit at the sushi bar, order sushi and other specalties and some stuff that is cooked off the regular menu. We tip on the bill but then we also tip the sushi chef as well. (usually a 20 spot) because he makes stuff "just for us". The wait staff serves us drinks and other menu items, so we tip that as well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cbauer

      So...are you saying that you tip normally on the bill (say ~20%), and then give the sushi chef an additional $20? Wow...either you are extraordinarily generous, or I'm really a skinflint! If this is indeed the appropriate way of tipping at a sushi bar, then I've been really undertipping by just doing 20%...and maybe eating at a good sushi restaurant is something I can't afford. The extra 20 bucks would make it unaffordable to me.

      1. re: josephnl

        yea, that's what we do, maybe we are overtipping, but in our mind, the tip we give on the bill goes to those who wait on us, but the sushi chef doesn't get any of that???? that 's why we give the chef extra. Are we wrong? Seriously, I don't know. I just thought it was the right thing to do. Can anyone chime in on this?

        1. re: cbauer

          I have always assumed that the 20% that I normally tip at a sushi bar is divided between the servers and the sushi chefs. If this is not the case, then I would never tip the servers more than 10% (for us, all they do is bring our drinks), and then tip the sushi chef separately (probably an additional 10-15%). Now I'm really confused about what's the right thing to do. Could someone who is knowledgeable about how tips are normally shared in sushi restaurants please weigh in?

    2. Ten to fifteen dollars, twenty if he's making stuff just for you. I've yet to meet the sushi chef who complains of being overtipped

      1. l have always been confused by this as well. When l lived in Japan there, of course, was no tipping on anything. When l sit at a table in a Japanese restaurant, sushi or otherwise, one tips the normal amount, 20% or so. Thus when l sit at a sushi bar, l have been tipping the tea server 12-15%, and the sushi chef the same. Someone please tell me the correct method. Yes no one will complain about being overtipped, but tipping 40% seems wrong on so many levels.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          You bring up another point that makes it even more confusing. When sitting at a table, I too would tip the normal 20%...yet any sushi ordered is made by the same chefs who would serve you at the sushi bar. So...why does sitting at the sushi bar require a much higher tip (tipping twice), than does sitting at a table? I'm really confused about what is the right thing to do!

        2. Well, I guess since the place we go is not stricly sushi only, I feel like it's almost like having two different bills (don't even ask me why my head works like this LOL). We always sit at the bar, so the sushi chef makes stuff for us, but we also get stuff from the kitchen. I suppose if it was a sushi only place I might think differently???