Top 10 Things Chefs Wish You Would Know



Top 10 Things Chefs Wish You Would Know

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
Thse are the thingsc hef wish you would know. For this list, we'll be looking at tips and secrets of the restaurant industry that chefs want customers to understand. Our countdown includes giving the kitchen a gift, when to order fish, long hours, and more!

Top 10 Things Chef Wish You Would Know

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things Chefs Wish You Would Know.

For this list, we’ll be looking at tips and secrets of the restaurant industry that chefs want customers to understand.

What’s your go-to dining tip? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Let the Chef Decide the Meal

Choosing a meal at a restaurant can be nerve-wracking. With so many great options, how do you decide what to order? One option is letting the chef choose for you. No, you shouldn’t just hand the menu to the server and say, “Surprise me.” But if you offer a price range, as well as any dietary restrictions, you can get a meal that’s perfect for you. This also shows the chef the trust you have in them. And perhaps this dish will become the one you regularly order. Life wouldn’t be the same without some surprises.

#9: Giving the Kitchen a Gift

There are ways to show your appreciation for a great meal beyond saying, “My compliments to the chef.” Actions speak louder than words, and bringing a gift for the kitchen is one great action. You don’t need to knit any homemade sweaters or spend extravagantly. Just find something that the staff can enjoy together. Food and beverages are always appreciated. Some nice wine or some pastries from your favorite bakery are good choices. Pair your gift with a hand-written card, and you’ll soon become everyone’s favorite customer. And don’t forget to show your appreciation for the wait staff as well.

#8: When to Order Fish

If you’re dining by the coast, you can get fresh fish any day. However, if you’re at a restaurant where fish is shipped in, you need to be judicious about when you order it. In many cases, a new supply of fish will arrive on a Friday. Then, the next order won’t come until Monday afternoon. That means, if you order fish on Sunday or Monday, it’s not going to be at its optimal freshness. This doesn’t mean it will be rancid. And if the restaurant specializes in seafood, you’ll be much better off. But the best days to get fish are reportedly Tuesdays and Fridays.

#7: Getting Recommendations from Sommelier

Don’t know anything about wine? That’s okay! High-end restaurants have experts to help teach you the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Pinot Grigio. Sommeliers enhance the dining experience by helping you choose the wine that will go best with your meal. Don’t want to spend a fortune on a single bottle of wine? You don’t have to. Just let them know your budget, and they’ll be happy to work within your price range. While a great meal is a wonderful thing on its own, the right wine can take it to the next level.

#6: Ideal Dining Time

Does it seem like it’s always swamped whenever you go out to eat? That might be because you’re dining at the same time everyone else is. If you visit a restaurant between 7 and 9 p.m., it seems you’re more likely to have to wait for a table. The solution? Get a table before 7 or after 9. You’ll be better able to avoid the rush and enjoy a more relaxed dining experience. Do be aware of when the restaurant closes, however. You don’t want to be the customer who comes in five minutes before closing time.

#5: Ask Questions

Servers have many talents, but mind-reading is not one of them. If you aren’t sure about something and they haven’t volunteered the information, just ask them. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, and you asking now can better prevent a future misunderstanding. Plus, you can give your server a chance to flex some knowledge. If they’re not sure, they can ask the chef or another member of the wait staff. Going out to eat should never be a stressful experience. By asking questions, you can make it as enjoyable and relaxed as possible.

#4: Food Allergy Awareness

Dining out with food allergies can be difficult, but it can be easier if you take some precautionary measures. Call ahead to let the restaurant know about your allergies so they can avoid any cross-contamination. It can also help keep the kitchen from getting suddenly backed up, as they’ll be ready for you. Also, don’t claim allergies you don’t actually have. If you don’t like a certain ingredient in a dish, simply ask for it to be removed. Allergies are a serious matter, and the staff should be happy to accommodate your request no matter what.

#3: Long Hours

Think a 9 to 5 is tough? Try a 7 to 10. It’s not unusual for restaurant chefs to work 14 hours a day, seven days a week. And since they’re constantly on their feet, the physical exhaustion is real. Being a chef isn’t just about cooking, either. You need to make sure everything is ready for a successful service, and a kitchen doesn’t exactly clean itself. And most chefs aren’t rolling in dough like some celebrity chefs. Take a moment to appreciate just how hard chefs work to give you a fantastic dining experience.

#2: Substitution Annoyance

Asking for something to be left out of a dish is generally fine. But asking for one ingredient to be swapped out for another one can be frustrating for both the server and the chef. Getting chips instead of fries isn’t a big deal. But don’t try to turn the chicken alfredo into a shrimp alfredo. Chefs work hard in designing their menu, and asking for unnecessary substitutions can be considered disrespectful. It can also tie up the kitchen to accommodate your request. If you don’t like a key component of a dish, you should probably just order something else.

#1: Report Issues Then & There

When your server asks how everything was, don’t say “great” if you don’t mean it. If you have any issues, don’t save them for a Yelp review. Bring it up at the restaurant so it can be addressed there. It can be scary to speak up in public, but you’ll be doing both yourself and the restaurant a huge favor. Chefs are human, and they’re bound to make mistakes. Be civil but firm as you explain exactly what your issue is. They don’t want to lose your business, and they should appreciate you telling them face-to-face.