I'd like to learn something about this custom. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and because of PA's arcane liquor licensing requirements we have numerous upscale BYO restaurants. I've often wondered whether/when it's appropriate to offer the chef a glass of wine.
When we go to a fine dining BYO, I often check the menu online and bring wines that are likely to pair well with our menu choices. It's not at all unusual for us to bring several bottles along and open one with our appetizers and another with our entrees, and while the wines we bring are of good quality, almost always come from small producers, and are rarely, if ever, sold in the state of PA, they're not generally the kind of wines that collectors would seek out.
So my questions are: how do we decide whether to offer the chef a glass of wine? Is the wine we're drinking a factor -- that is, should we only make the offer if it's a remarkable bottle? Should we simply leave the bottle with enough for a generous pour and indicate to the server that it's for the chef? Is a glass enough, or should we leave a whole bottle? I raise this last question because my husband and I were dining at our very favorite local BYO last night (the Birchrunville Store Cafe, for anyone in the Philly area), and happened to notice a bottle of wine sitting on a wooden table near the entrance to the kitchen. My husband and I speculated about it -- maybe the restaurant keeps a bottle or two on hand to give (they're not allowed to sell) to guests who didn't know the restaurant is BYO only -- and finally asked our server, who told us a party had left it for the chef the night before.
Can anyone shed some light on this custom for me? Thanks!