Over the years, I’ve had a few students who were great cooks – even some professional chefs. This week I ran into one and he asked, “How can I use my cooking skills for dates?”
1. Don’t talk about cooking for them ahead of time. Make it a surprise. Invite your date over, and when they arrive, already be cooking whatever it is you were planning on making. That means not outright saying, “I want to cook you dinner,” ahead of time – even if you’re a professional. It’s sometimes more fun to find out a person you’re interested in has an awesome skill set. Don’t waste the opportunity.
2. Ask if they want some. Don’t let that person assume you made it for the two of you. It should feel spontaneous, not contrived.
3. Root the meal. Tell them a story about why you like to cook this meal. Something about where you learned it, who taught it to you, or what this meal means to you. Do not make this story technical – make it emotional.
“I love the smell of fettuccine because my grandmother used to make it for me, and whenever I smell it I feel good,” is better than, “It’s made with handmade noodles and organic cheeses.” One story tells your date something about you, the other tells your date something about the food. Your goal is to share something about your identity with them.
4. Unless it’s on, take your date out afterward. Think of cooking for your date as just another DHV – like a bar-con or an identity story. Don’t assume that just because you cook her a good meal you don’t need to do anything else to build value. (People who are good at dancing should heed this advice as well.)
Feel free to comment with any other ideas that were used effectively in this area!