First time chef, would you compliment her or tell her the truth?

United States
August 3, 2009 3:42pm CST
My girlfriend was a first time chef yesterday. She tried to make something special for dinner last night; so she spent over couple of hours follow the recipes online to cook the favorite dishes I like. Honestly, overall, the taste weren't so great, but I didn't tell her flat out. It would hurt her feeling I afraid. So, I just kept on eating regardless the taste, and I kept on nodding. But I also want her improve in the future. Should I tell her flat out, that everything I ate just sucks? or I should support her, and tell her that she should done much more better if she follow exactly what the recipe said? What is your suggestion?
7 people like this
18 responses
@Porcospino (16435)
• Denmark
3 Aug 09
If I were your friend I would prefer to get your honest opinion. I am not a good chef and my friends sometimes tease me about my cooking. I don't mind, I have many strenghts, but cooking isn't one of them. Some years ago I had spent a lot of time on finding recipes and buying the right ingredients, but the dish became a disaster. The taste was really awful and my guests couldn't eat it. We had to buy a pizza instead My friends were honest about the dish, and we laughed about the situation. If you tell your friend she might get hurt or she might get happy and appreciate your advice. I would probably tell my friend that I really appreciate her efforts, and that it was nice of her to cook my favourite dishes, and then I would offer my advice and tell her how she might improve the dishes.
1 person likes this
@CJscott (4184)
• Canada
3 Aug 09
Well my friend you are stuck. But let me ask you a fair question. If it was you who cooked the nice dinner would you want to hear "It sucked, your horrible at it, why do you even try" or "Wow babe, that is great that you cooked dinner for us!! It is awesome of you to try so hard! Where did you get that recipe? How did you like it? Can you think of a great way to make it taste even better next time? Oh, and remember the 5 right questions, I will have to check if I made a post about that, anyways, What is right? What makes that right? What would be ideal? What is missing that would make it ideal? What will it take to make it ideal? Cheers. Use constructive criticism with a loving attitude of gratitude and support.
1 person likes this
@mermaidivy (15417)
• United States
4 Aug 09
It is an interesting topic, I think I will tell the chef the truth, first, I don't think I would like to eat something that tastes really not "eatable" and way beyond what it should tastes like and I think it is better to tell the chef what we think so the chef can improve next time.
@jaizhi (260)
• Philippines
4 Aug 09
I used to cooked for my husband as well. I hate it when he just nod when I ask him if it taste great; soon he learned to tell it to me. He uses sweet words of telling me or he wont tell that it really taste hell. He would just say "I think it would taste much like in restuarants if/.... (what ever is wrong with the dish) but its okay... can you cook this again next week..." ofcourse next week I will apply what he said. I would sugest you tell her the truth about what needs to be added to make the taste better. Use nice words to incourage her. Have her cook it again so that she would feel that you liked the meal but would like best from her. this way she can practice as well. If you wont tell her the truth think of what will happen if he cooked the same in occassions with people that will truly critize her work with know exemptions
• Philippines
4 Aug 09
I too loved to cook and I feel irritating easily if someone comments on my cooking. i love to hear pleasing praises and not criticism. It is a bit frustrating after many try outs in the kitchen with labor of love. You prepare and almost exhausted, then you have to taste it but not really swallow the food you cook. You like someone special or close to you to have a taste of it. It is not good to criticize when eating at the table. When all are finish eating. Then, you could tell her in secrets or low voice what you find. you should tell her the truth as it is a better way to make her more learn from her mistakes..means a positive reinforcement or constructive criticism to correct it is good than to lie. So that the girl may not feel disappointed..with her works..
@anonymili (3140)
4 Aug 09
To be honest I would rather hear the truth but in a diplomatic way, you don't have to say outright that it tasted awful but you can say that it was a good first try but you don't think it tasted as it was meant to. I'm hoping your friend isn't completely stupid and would know from tasting it herself that it wasn't all that good or did she not try any herself? My husband taught me to cook curry, before I met him I couldn't cook curry to save my life, the first couple of times I tried it he pointed out that this was missing or there was too much of something else but I took it on board as he is a really good cook, now he always says how wonderful my cooking is and says that I picked it up really quickly compared to how long it took him to learn. Honesty is better in these cases, how awful would it be if your friend threw a dinner party and her cooking was that bad that people never wanted to come to eat with her again? Do her a favour and let her know that her cooking needs working on - if you have the time, try it out together with her to give her some support and maybe even see where she's going wrong and kindly steer her in the right direction :)
• Indonesia
4 Aug 09
Your girl friend had try her best and I think you will hurt her feeling if you say flatly like that. Better to compliment her, say that her cook is good and you really appreciate it. Better to tell what you really want to her at the next time she wanna cook for you again. So, the next time she wanna make another dinner for you, just say "hey, I remember the last dishes you made for me. I'm sure you can make this one better than it! How about adding ...(certain spices) so it will taste more delicious?" or something like that. Don't say it if there's no occasion related to cook, because she will think actually you wanna say it at the first dinner but you wait until now.. Better you act like you've forgot about her last cook and sudenly you remember its "delicious taste" the next time she will cook again.. Hope this can help.. be careful about it because it's a quiet sensitive issue for woman.. Good luck
@srganesh (6349)
• India
4 Aug 09
No!You should not say things straight to her that it sucks.After all,it is the first time and it is human to make mistakes.I think,she too have ate it and she could have known the difference.You missed that detail in your post.Anyhow,practice brings out perfection and you can say to her with kind words.She will be thankful for your polite guidance and it will motivate her to be better the next time.Cheers!
@bird123 (10300)
• United States
4 Aug 09
Do you love her enough to tell her the truth??? Don't you want honesty in your relationship? Compliment her on the hard work. I could never have cook a meal like that. I think we can improve if the recipe is followed exactly. Be loving. It will work out.
• Belgium
4 Aug 09
It is good that you want her to improve in future but telling her flat out will be like braking her heart, and I don't think you would like to do this to the person whom you love. And as you told that she tried to do something special for you. It won't be good to tell her directly on her face. But may be you can use some indirect ways to tell her like you can cook together and you can in between just tell her somethings which will let her improve with time. And then may be gift her some good recepie book which she can refer to.
• United States
4 Aug 09
I will give him or her compliment, but next time they need to try all harder, or need to fix on their cooking little more. No one cAn be perfect on the first time, so it costs nothing to encourage someone and say something good first.
@roniroxas (10576)
• Philippines
4 Aug 09
tell her the truth, for telling the truth means room for improvement. but of course say it nicely. i have four teen children and they are helping me around the house with chores and they love cooking. when i cook something and they find it good they will try to cook it. then when they do we will all try to comment on the cooking and the taste. so that they can improve next time they cook again. so far so good. when they prepare a certain dish it turns out to be better than the last time they try to cook it. always make sure you give A for effort. cooking is not really that easy. goodluck
@chaime (1153)
• Philippines
3 Aug 09
Oh I do feel for you my friend. I think first and foremost you should be honest to your girl. If she didn't do a great job this time, then you should help her to make it better next time. Not by saying it sucks or whatever. Constructive criticism is what I'm gunning for. I think you should talk to her in a calm way and choosing your words carefully that the food wasn't as great as expected. I'm not sure how bad the food was but if it lacks a little salt or had too much flavor or whatever, you should explain that to her. I think if you say that she cooked great, she might cook for other people, other than you, and those peeps might not be as 'forgiving' as you and might blurt out the nastiness of the food, then you'll be in much bigger trouble since she gets embarrassed in front of others, rather than you tell her the truth, so that she can improve her craft.Critique her and if you actually understand food or know how to cook then maybe you can give her tips and pointers on improving her cooking. I'm not saying that you should not appreciate her effort at slaving over a hot stove, you should actually make it a point to appreciate her efforts but you should also show honesty and tell her the truth, before someone else does. Maybe you can make it to be a joke so that it doesn't impact as much. here in our country, when someone cooks a good meal, we usually joke about it in a sense, like, "oh you cook real good, you can now get married" (it sounds much better in our native language) maybe you can turn that around and say "hon, you cook real good, don't lose your day job" or something to that effect, so that you were able to say that she didnt' really cook that well but the blow would be cushioned by the joke. You know your girl the best, so you know the path to take that she will most likely appreciate from you.
3 Aug 09
Honestly i think you should tell her the truth. Im a believer in the saying "youve got to be cruel to be kind" Im sure we would rather you be honest and hurt her feelings a little to help her improve than to just lie to her and let her think she is great as she will have nod esire to improve that way. Tough situation since its a partner involved. Good luck to you.
@chillpill90 (1937)
3 Aug 09
i agree with you and that you should be honest. Do not say it sucks if i were you i would say its a good first attempt but with practice she could improve. Then your not being too mean but if you said it sucks she would get upset and not want to try again so do not hurt her feelings. Encourage her to try again and suggest to her to try some simpler recipes first so she gets used to cooking and then doing something a bit harder.
@Hatley (152380)
• Garden Grove, California
3 Aug 09
you should have been gently honest, dont say it sucks,just say it didnt quite come out the way you wanted. tell her she cou ld take a couple of cooking classes and since she was such an intelligent girl she would soon be a super cook. use honey not vinegar when you tell her the food was not too good, and be sure you yourself are not being too picky.
@jb78000 (15178)
3 Aug 09
i don't think you can criticise her cooking too much, just be even more complimentary when she makes something nice. perhaps you should try and do most of the cooking yourself and try to make suggestions while you're doing it - i've done this with a boyfriend and it worked, he ended up cooking, mostly, ok stuff. if you can't cook either then stick to extra compliments for anything that's edible...
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
3 Aug 09
It can hurt to be told that your cooking isn't great. But on the other hand, you won't do your girlfriend any favors by letting her think that the food was good, because then she'll just make it again (and possibly take it to a party or potluck next time!). It's ok to offer criticism, but keep it constructive. Instead of saying "this sucks" or "I don't like this" you could say something like "this recipe is a great idea, but it would be even better if you used more of/less of a particular ingredient." Make sure to let her know that you really appreciate her effort and that you're willing to help her improve her cooking techniques, even if it's just by being her guinea pig and telling her what works and what doesn't.