First off I am not a trained chef, I have my own restaurant, I cook all the food and everyone calls me chef. Having cleared that one up I feel qualified to respond to this thread.
Ever since I was a kid I knew when I was eating good food. Anyone can cook, people cook every day at home but to prepare something special, something that will make you close your eyes and make that "Mmmm" sound, that is what it is all about for me. There are those who live to eat, and those who eat to live. The former are an absolute pleasure to cook for and worth going the extra mile for, as for the latter...well forget it, they won't appreciate it anyway.
I have a big square window in my kitchen door which looks out onto the restaurant. Most of the time I am so busy that I dont see the window but sometimes, I will watch a waitress take food to a table. The diners look up and smile, the food is placed in front of them as the visual impact is taking place, almost immediately the aromas are reaching their senses and their anticipation builds. The smiles are now in abundance as they are asked if they would like any condiments, and although they reply...smiling, they don't appear to be listening. Now they examine their food with exaggerated neck craning, a finger points, first to their own plate and then their partner's, I see a mimed explanation of what it is on their plates. Then finally, the first mouthful, yes! the closed eyes and the all telling "Mmmm" sound, the exchanging of forks and the nodding of heads. That is what its all about for me.