The chef’s kiss is an expression and gesture, made by pinching the fingers in from of the mouth, then giving a kiss, and pulling the hand away rapidly, while opening the palm.
The gesture may be used in a heartfelt, as well as in an ironic way.
It is most often encountered around the dining table, when something is tasting majestic.
Online, the “Chef’s kiss” is frequently imitated using emojis, combining the “OK hand emoji” (also known as Gottem) and a kissing face emoji.
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The expression comes from the Italian al bacio, the kiss, that is used to convey the meaning “excellent”.
The image of the mustached, Italian chefs making the gesture comes from after the 1940’s, when advertisements in the United States embedded it into the minds of people.
A prominent use of this imagery in the advertisement industry can be linked to the American company, Kraft, which ran a worldwide campaign during World War II, creating the image of a recognizably Italian chef, performing the “Chef’s kiss”.
This commercial is arguably the origin of the “Chef’s kiss” trope, which spread across the entire globe in ads and movies.
The gesture had since then gained a globally accepted meaning of deeming something perfectly executed.
The “chef’s kiss” phenomenon turned big online in 2010, when images of The Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef were popularized and heavily circulated on the web.
Apart from that, it appears as a reaction on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the form of *chef’s kiss*.
The term was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2019.
Today, it may be encountered in hashtags, as well as reaction image macro and GIF memes, not to mention the real life gesture, used for expressing approval, especially related to culinary creations.
- Dictionary.com – Chef’s kiss
- AV Club – How the “Italian chef kiss” became a snarky internet cliché