The Chef And The Dish Connects Couples In The Kitchen

Women's Dating

The Chef & The Dish Helps Couples Connect in the Kitchen on Date Night

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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The Short Version: Date night may look a little different in today’s world, with many restaurants, bars, and other places largely empty. That’s why many couples turn to The Chef & The Dish for romantic culinary experiences in the comfort of their homes. The company connects users with trained chefs who live in communities famous for their traditional cuisine. Couples learn to prepare recipes via video conference and make delicious meals together during fun, informative evening sessions.

Not long ago, planning for date night was easy. Couples could call up their favorite restaurant to make a reservation at a cozy, corner table. Add a bottle of wine, a buzzing atmosphere, and some scintillating conversation, and they would go home feeling happy and connected.

With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming most of the world, the concept of date night has changed. Restaurants, bars, and other romantic spots may not be open or may have limited seating. That means couples often spend date nights at home, trading in heels and ties for sweatpants and slippers.

Scheduling time to enjoy experiences together is crucial for a couple’s long-term relationship success, whether they just started dating or have been married for years. In a study featured on the wedding-planning website and app The Knot, researchers set out to learn the date-night habits of successful couples. They found that married couples who had a date night at least once a month had the highest odds of staying together when compared with couples who rarely or never spent an evening together without their children.

Couples stuck at home these days need to get creative. That’s where The Chef & The Dish can step in to help.

The Chef & The Dish banner

The Chef & The Dish helps couples share memorable date nights at home.

The platform uses informative video conferences with trained chefs from around the world to introduce couples to global flavors.

“If you want to learn to make pasta, you can video conference with our chefs in Italy. If you want to make pad thai, you connect directly with chefs in Thailand,” said Jenn Nicken, Founder of The Chef & The Dish. “So you’re learning the most authentic version of a dish.”

The Chef & The Dish teaches couples how to work together in the kitchen and provides information about different cultures they may not get to experience during the age of social distancing.

A Company Born From a Love of Travel

Jenn was an executive with Apple and had experience overseeing the global company’s marketing division in Canada. She understood both the practical and entertainment value of video conferencing long before everyone’s grandmother was online.

When she left Apple, Jenn said she decided to travel around the world to experience different cultures, lands, and — perhaps most importantly — cuisines. She wanted to share what she enjoyed, and that’s how Jenn came up with the concept for The Chef & The Dish. It took off as people started getting more comfortable with video conferencing, she said.

“Date night isn’t just cooking, you’re actually transporting to another country,” she said. “That takes you out of your home and into another part of the world for the night, and the classes are amazing.”

Couples can choose from more than 70 different types of cuisine, recipes, and parts of the world when planning their date night. Along with Thai and Italian cooking, users can visit Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, Morocco, Peru, and Spain, among other countries.

Participants prepare traditional dishes from American cities, too. Jambalaya from a New Orleans-based chef or New England Chowder and Crab Cakes are a few stateside options.

Couples may want to try preparing cabbage rolls from Hungary. For dessert, they can make a Floating Island, which is a vanilla custard topped with lemon meringue.

“Few things say comfort food more than cabbage rolls,” Chef Agnes Barath said on the website. “This class is perfect for anyone who loves cozy home-cooking. Hearty cabbage filled with pork, rice and sauerkraut topped with a paprika sauce make this meal a perfect Sunday meal.”

Schedule a Private Session or Make it a Double Date

Couples can choose from two types of classes. The original — and most popular — classes are private one-on-one sessions with a chef who lives in the region where the recipe originated. The Chef & The Dish also offers multiple-location classes, which are ideal for groups, double dates, or corporate team-building exercises.

Scheduling an appointment is simple, and the website includes biographies and the favorite dishes of each chef. For Chef Lucia Calmell of Lima, Perú, her favorite dish is ceviche. Chef Ted Fondulas, who lives in Vermont, loves Goat Cheese Soufflé, and Chef Ana Lopez Marin, of Seville, Spain, prefers paella.

Photo of couple using The Chef & The Dish

Cooking together can help couples connect and strengthen their relationships.

The hard part is narrowing down what to make, Jenn said.

“They’re all very popular, I don’t say that because they’re all my favorite,” she said. “We find that every person is different. Maybe they’re curious because they don’t cook Asian cuisine, or perhaps they wish to explore their roots with Eastern European cooking.”

Each class is 2 ½ hours long, making it a full evening experience. Once users schedule their session, they benefit from the company’s White Glove service. A team of kitchen assistants meet virtually with all of their clients a few days before the event. They go through the shopping list together, recommend wine pairings, and answer any questions to make the night special.

As a leader in the industry of online cuisine exploration, the company ensures everything is perfect for couples. Years of positive feedback speaks volumes to the company’s approach.

Cooking Together Helps People Become Better Partners

This year, many travel experts recommend a gift certificate to The Chef & The Dish as a holiday gift for someone who loves adventure.

“We’re so much more than a cooking class,” Jenn said. “We’re an experience in your kitchen and in your home.”

Clients of the private cooking classes are as demographically diverse as the chefs, and hail from every continent except Antarctica. No matter where they live, the people who spend time together in their kitchen are also spending time strengthening their relationships, said Jenn.

Cooking together can help couples learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses as they work together to create something memorable.

“When you come together with your spouse or someone you’re dating, you’re creating memories and learning how to dance together in the kitchen,” she said. “When you cook more together, you become a stronger team.”

Jenn said the company isn’t just interested in bringing people together through the power of technology, but it also seeks to make the world a better place by allowing people to learn and appreciate different cultures.

The Chef & The Dish plans to make many announcements, including introducing more countries and dishes to its menu. It also aims to develop new ways to experience different cuisines beyond video conference lessons.

In the meantime, Jenn said she’s looking forward to helping couples make memories and connect in a challenging time for everyone.

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