When I was single, I knew I wasn't destined to pair off with a 9-to-5 guy. Raised in a food-obsessed family, I imagined that a chef would be the perfect companion: a ripe, young visionary whose biceps were swollen from lifting 25-gallon stockpots--anyone under 40 would do nicely, as long as he commanded a three-star kitchen.
As it happened, I married a man who would love to blowtorch crème brûlée but who calls the shots in a newsroom instead of a kitchen. Still, an enduring fascination with restaurants and with the men in white led me back to the question: what's it like to date a chef?
Women who've lived the fantasy report that having an affair with a chef offers the same risks and rewards as scoring a table at a buzz-inflated restaurant--it's thrilling, when it isn't maddening. The food and sex connection, of course, is right up front. "All the chefs I've met have a passion for food that definitely translates into other areas," says Susan Gross, who is married to Dan Silverman, now the chef at New York City's Alison on Dominick. "When I met Dan on a blind date, his hands were greenish from chopping herbs, and he had all these little cuts and burns. I thought it was so sexy." Gross reports that she "nearly died" when she went to see Silverman in action at Bouley, where he was working as a sous-chef: "When I saw him in his whites, I thought, 'Eating this amazing food cooked by this very, very cool guy--oh my God, it's foreplay.'"