Cooking for a first “date”: top tips

Cooking for a first

From emoticons in the shape of an apricot or eggplant to idioms borrowing from the culinary lexicon to image a romantic or sexual relationship, cooking is a major ally in winning hearts. “It’s a language that allows you to express yourself other than with words,” summarizes Victoire Loup, food critic and author of cookbooks. In order to obtain the best advice for a first date around a table at home, the author of the book “Hot” therefore interviewed those who handle the pan best: the chefs. We thus tried to sketch out a manual for a lesson in seduction in the kitchen by his side.

Is the kitchen the best room to implement a lesson in seduction? 

It’s an intimate room. Depending on the accommodation, it can be cramped, which can promote reconciliation. It’s a more personal place than the living room where you expose yourself more. Inviting someone to your home is a first proof of love. You are already revealing a part of yourself…

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Which recipe to choose to cook on a first evening at home? 

Risotto is the dish that comes up most frequently in my book. It’s a recipe that is made during the tryst. It lasts twenty minutes, which gives the opportunity to take the time. We don’t leave the guest in the living room with peanuts. It offers the opportunity to offer an invitation to the kitchen to wet the rice. During cooking, it is thus proposed to open a bottle of white wine. The situation will definitely help to break the ice! 

Aren't the best recipes those where you have to get your hands dirty, like ravioli, so that your hands brush against each other, and the situation initiates a rapprochement? 

After risotto, pasta in general is the second star dish anyway. Yohan Lastre of the restaurant Lastre Sans Apostrophe in Paris concocts ravioli with parmesan and truffles. And it’s true that if someone prepares this kind of dish for us, we imagine that the amateur cook shows a certain interest because it means that he’s spent time in the kitchen. 

What if it’s-a last-minute date? 

< p>You can’t always imagine inviting someone home after a movie screening, for example. In this case, Apollonia Poilâne, bakeries of the same name, offers crunchy French toast cubes at the last minute. >What idea to surprise for sure? 

I have the case of a chef who prefers to make very divisive dishes for a first date. Alcidia Vulbeau, who cooks at the Bonneaventure restaurant in Saint-Ouen in the Paris region, prepares poached lamb brains with a gray shrimp and lime broth. She explained to me that she didn't want to waste her time and wanted to test the guy on the first date to see if he was reckless. (laughs)

Truffle, langoustine, scallops… Do you necessarily have to go all out with luxury products to succeed this first time? 

In any case, this shows that you want to please your guest. We give ourselves, we surpass ourselves, it’s a mark of affection. There are as many recipes as there are forms of love. My husband's favorite recipe is an omelette. It’s simple, but extremely technical. We are not all sensitive to the same things, just as we are not all receptive to the same humour.  

However, the talented chef Nadia Sammut for her part recommends a grandmother's recipe… 

It’s a recipe that has proven itself over many generations. It’s a safe bet. We can therefore choose to prepare a dish that we know how to make perfectly. It’s a dish that tells part of our story. Lucy Chen, from Gros Bao in Paris, told me that the pork belly with five flavors was a way for her parents to express their feelings towards her. Someone who dares to make a simple dish also reveals himself and demonstrates that he is a person with unfussy tastes. 

Chocolate is not missing from the list of recipes in the book. It’s been talked about as an aphrodisiac ingredient for decades. Isn't it a has-been to prepare a chocolate dessert for a date? 

It’s a reassuring ingredient. We know him well. It’s true that if you prepare a menu with a starter consisting of oysters, a dish around ginger and a chocolate dessert with peppers, indeed you risk to appear a little heavy…

Finally, what ingredients should be favored for a successful meeting? 

It is better to choose products that you master. It’s stressful enough cooking for someone the first time that it’s not worth adding a super complicated recipe. A dish that cooks in the oven allows you to cook without having to worry about it. Bet on a comforting and not too technical recipe! 

Conversely, what ingredient can make us completely miss our appointment? 

Garlic, if it is too dosed. Chef Anthony Orjollet of the restaurant Elements in Bidart told me that after a tasting at a wine merchant that his hand was too heavy in his recipe, which was supposed to amazed his guest. He himself smelled his own breath every time he spoke. He realized as the evening progressed that not only was the meal ruined but the date too! (laughs) In the end, there was never a second… 

“Hot”, Victoire Loup, Humans Humans editions, published on November 17, 2021, 19, 90 euros

Because love doesn’t last just one day, listen to the editorial staff podcast: Viens, we love each other

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