Slang dictionary

chef’s kiss

[ shefs kis ]

What does chef's kiss mean?

Chef’s kiss is a gesture and expression meant to show something is perfect or excellent. The gesture is made by pinching the fingers and thumb of one hand together (often in an OK sign), kissing them, and then tossing them dramatically away from the lips. Its tone can be sincere or ironic.

Related words

picture perfect, 👌 Ok Hand emoji, on point, on fleek, headdesk, clutch

Where does chef’s kiss come from?

The chef’s kiss comes from the Italian gesture al bacio, literally “kiss” but with the sense of “excellent.” The image of a male Italian chef performing this gesture—often with a mustache, white chef’s hat, and apron—spread in US advertisements after World War 2. The stereotype is that, when a dish is deemed simply perfect, such a chef performs this kiss.

Chef’s kiss appears to take off on the internet in the early 2010s. An image of the Swedish Chef, a character on The Muppet Show introduced in 1975, doing the chef’s kiss became popular online around this time. Tumblr user ladygolem proposed a character called the Discourse Chef, featuring a graphic of a chef making chef’s kiss-like OK sign, in 2015.

RedMonk / The Muppet Studios

Examples of chef’s kiss

if i could be part of a rap duo where i make the track and sing the hook and the other person raps the verses.... chef's kiss
@ZOLAJESUS, January 2020
The new volume indicator alone is—chef's kiss—a feature iOS has needed for years. And iMessage search, well, it's downright amazing.
Jason Cipriani, CNET, January 2020

Who uses chef’s kiss?

Online, people may write chef’s kiss—often in asterisks as *chef’s kiss* to represent an action being performed—in reaction to something they find simply exquisite in some way. Its tone can be sincere:


But chef’s kiss is also very often used ironically, commenting on something that is just too perfect in its badness.

Some people create an emoji version of the chef’s kiss by combining the OK hand emoji 👌 with the face throwing a kiss 😘, kissing face emoji 😗,  kissing face with closed eyes😚, man cook 👨‍🍳, and woman cook emoji 👩‍🍳, as in 😙👌

The chef’s kiss is represented in a variety of other images, including GIFs. It can be used as a noun (the song is a chef’s kiss), modifier (it was chef’s kiss performance), or, as seen in many of the above examples, an interjection, as a kind of tonal punctuation mark.


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This is not meant to be a formal definition of chef’s kiss like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of chef’s kiss that will help our users expand their word mastery.