Is It Bad Etiquette To Ask A Restaurant For A Recipe?

Sometimes the food at a restaurant is so bad it'll leave you wanting to submit a one-star Yelp review, but other times it's so good that sending compliments to the chef just isn't enough. If you end up loving what you ordered so much that you want to regularly make it for yourself at home, it's very possible that the restaurant will be willing to give you the recipe, says The Salty Waitress (via The Takeout). Asking your waiter for the recipe isn't considered bad etiquette at all — in fact, the article says it's refreshing for chefs to hear. "I mean, of all the wacko things customers do, asking for a recipe ranks pretty far down the list," says the columnist.

Professional chef Denise took to a Food52 forum to further explain that most chefs actually wish they could provide customers with more accurate measurements. "The one problem of giving out a recipe on the spot is that most of the time we are cooking such large quantities that the recipe often has to be re-written for the home cook," she commented. "I know chefs have a reputation for being a little crazy, but at the end of the day we only want to share our love of food."

Unless it's a secret recipe, the restaurant will share it

While The Salty Waitress assures that asking for a recipe isn't bad etiquette, she also points out that your question could come off as rude if you mention that you want to tweak the recipe, or, according to Reddit, if you demand for the recipe even when the restaurant declines to share it. "A lot of customers asked us for recipes but we weren't allowed to share any of them," a former restaurant employee explained on the Reddit thread. "It was part of our contracts. So some people just didn't understand that and got mad at us."

Hospitality is important in the restaurant industry, but customers aren't entitled to the recipe, which means a yes isn't always guaranteed. Even if the restaurant isn't allowed to give away the chef's full creation, however, The Salty Waitress says that the waitstaff is usually nice enough to hint at a key ingredient, for example by saying something along the lines of "the kitchen uses a ton of bell peppers in there." The consensus across the board is that the majority of chefs are more than willing to share their recipe, so while it doesn't hurt to politely ask for it, it's also important to remember that it's considered the chef's intellectual property too, maybe even a secret family recipe. So don't be offended if they aren't willing to share it.