Sometimes not finishing a dish is the ultimate compliment. While a dish, an idea, and a creation are intended to be fully consumed, the recipient may not have the capacity for full consumption. Alternatively a dish can be so good that just a few bites are needed to satiate the palate and create a feeling of contentment in the diner. In these cases, the recipient has two chooices, to consume more than is satisfying or to leave food on the plate. Often over-consumption can lead to discomfort and actually take away from the initial pleasure derived from the first few bites. The small adjustment of leaving a few bites on the plate can make all the difference. The memory of the moment can be elevated from one of slightly painful excess to the pleasure of finding a truly indulgent experience with no negative repercussions. As a chef, I have often checked plates as they came back to the kitchen to make sure that the guest finished everything on the dish. And when they did not I usually started an inquisition with the wait staff. Yet personal experience has taught me that a clean plate does not necessarily equal a happy consumer. We all have different palates and different appetites. It is almost impossible to tailor portion sizes perfectly to each diner. As a chef it is more important to know how much the experience was enjoyed, rather than how much food is left on the plate. No one wants to end a meal feeling as though their stomachs are stretched to their outer limits, instead our goal is pleasureable satiation. It's a fine distinction and an important one. As always the key to good food is in the details, part of the trick is understanding which ones are the most important.