Food and drink are a focal point for any date. Everyone loves to eat and if they don’t, then they’re not the right person for you. The table is where everyone goes to congregate and get to know one another regardless of their relationship. Whether it’s a first date or you’re a seasoned couple, food’s really important when it comes to coupling up.
So, before you embark on your next date, here are a few dating tips from me, a professional chef, about how to approach your dinner date like a pro.
1. Timing is everything.
Timing, timing, timing is one of the most essential skills in food and in life as well. If you’re cooking a meal for someone make sure your food is prepped well and ready to go by the time they come over. Prep your stuff earlier and have your dish be almost done when they get to your place. The last thing you want is for someone to come hang out with you only to have them just watch you make mediocre food for them for an hour.
Likewise, if you’re going on a date, be punctual and make reservations. Being late ruins plans for both parties. It throws off the timing and plans for everybody because you’re playing catch up the entire time and that sucks. Also, if you’re taking someone out to eat at a nice or popular restaurant then chances are it’s going to be busy. If you’re reading this then you probably have a basic grasp on technology. There are different platforms nowadays that make booking a reservation online easy and hassle-free such as Opentable or Yelp. Use them and don’t be a goon. And if you don’t feel like making a reservation, then pick a different place.
2. Seating makes a difference.
If you made a reservation like I stated above then you can probably skip this section, but if you didn’t and are dropping in at a restaurant then proceed. Don’t sit at the bar…or do. Sitting at a table is probably most ideal on a first date. That way you and your date can have better, more intimate conversation. If you’re nervous and are worried you might run out of things to say, then by all means pop a seat at the bar. Your bartender (if he/she isn’t busy) can be the perfect wingman/wingwoman if necessary.
3. Everyone should order their own meals.
Chivalry and obnoxiousness are separated by a very thin line. One move that can rub your date the wrong way is ordering for them. You might think you’re being helpful by taking the initiative, but at the end of the day you’re just being condescending. Plus, it’s the 21st century, people are literate and can order for themselves.
4. Phones don’t belong at the dinner table.
This is really a no-brainer, but only take phone calls if they’re dire (like if there was a meteor headed towards Earth) and keep your texting, Instagrams, and Snaps to a minimum. Be in the moment instead of trying to show the world about your moment. Plus, not looking at your phone really shows the other person that you’re interested and that you’re paying attention.
5. Splitting is for chumps.
If you’re going out to eat, don’t split the bill, unless you’re longterm partners and that’s your dynamic. One of you from the party should take charge and take responsibility for the check. Splitting the bill always makes things weird plus it’s a hassle for your servers. If both of you really do insist on paying, a fun game to play is credit card roulette. Put both of your cards in an empty glass and have your server randomly select one. The card that gets picked has to pay, but whatever you do never pull the, “I’ll get the bill, you just pay the tip.”You’re on a date and not grabbing a casual bite to eat with the homie.
And remember, don’t forget to tip your servers.