How to create the perfect French dinner date
It is commonly known that the French cuisine is one of the finest in the world. We always give priority to quality over quantity, which is especially important on a date where you aim to impress with your culinary skills. Generally, if you invite your date over for a home-cooked dinner, they will have expectations of a special, romantic evening. In any case, you need to put some hard work in the kitchen to create a French dish. So here are my 10 steps to planning the perfect French dinner date:
1. Impress your date with your efforts. When they step into your apartment, make sure you have already started cooking and that the flavours are in the air.
2. Make sure you know what they like and above all, what they don’t like. If they’re sensitive to spicy foods for example, you’ll know to tone down the dish.
3. The best way to get started is to have a nice cold bottle of champagne as an aperitif. Champagne is a classic sign of romance and says “this is your night, I have prepared it all for you.’’
4. Take your time. Don’t rush around trying to finish everything before your date arrives. Share a glass of wine together while you’re still cooking and show them your cooking skills. 90% of the time, they will ask to help you out and this is where you can start creating intimacy. Make them laugh, guide them into doing an easy part of the recipe and don’t hesitate to compliment them on their cooking skills.
5. Set the table (and the mood) by using a nice tablecloth – stick to classic white or black, your finest cutlery, and some candles. A red rose in a vase is also a nice touch.
6. Select the right wine. What would be a perfect French diner without a good bottle of (French) wine? Remember to pair red wine with meat and white wine with fish. A little personal tip: learn some history of where the wine has come from and use it for a great conversation starter.
7. Prepare the playlist. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to play Barry White songs, however, I have always thought that jazzy music suits a romantic dinner. Make sure you adjust the volume so you can still enjoy your conversation.
8. Stay light on the drinking and eating. The perfect French dinner has to be light, and no one is supposed to end up drunk, especially if you have plans for after dinner.
9. Dress appropriately. Be elegant but in a relaxed manner, there’s no need to wear a tie. You’re at home and you want your date to feel comfortable, so be yourself while still showing that you put some effort into the occasion. And don’t forget to put on a light-scented perfume or cologne – ‘Bleu de Chanel’ is a great recommendation for men.
10. Make sure your friends know that this is not the right night to ring the door bell and drop by for a beer, or call you 10 times on your phone. Tonight is all about your date and impressing them with your efforts.
You can find my recommended menu with easy-to-follow recipes here. Or for those who just don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen, Chef Xavier Jasseron can always come to your home as a personal chef for a night!
Good luck and bon appétit.
About the author
Mathieu Revel is owner of Chef Up!, a popular culinary studio in Sydney that hosts in-home cooking classes for individuals, groups and company events. The recipe is by co founder and head chef, Xavier Jasseron, one of the most prominent French chefs in the world who has worked in restaurants across Paris and Lyon. Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages to find out how you can win a French cooking class for two!
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