Fans of the ABC reality show series The Bachelor and its various spin-offs may have noticed an odd quirk about the televised dates: Nobody ever appears to eat anything. Refinery29 took a look at the culinary side of the popular reality shows to uncover why date food usually goes untouched.
On The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, 20-plus singles competing against each other live in a Malibu mansion, but despite the grandeur of their living quarters, the food situation is less than luxurious. Contestants have to cook for themselves—no fancy personal chefs here. According to Ashley Spivey, a former Bachelor contestant, despite the mansion's pantry being stocked with plenty of junk food, the women tended towards simple, healthful foods like eggs, yogurt, sandwiches and salads. Often times at night, the mansion's residents would switch off who prepared the meal for everyone. "On my season, Britt was a classically trained chef, so she would make things like bacon jam or roasted tomato soup," Spivey says.
- Rosé to Drink While You Watch the Bachelorette
- Bachelor-Worthy Wines
- This Virtual Reality Company Is Taking the Food Out of Dining
Other contestants, such as Tenley Molzahn, used nutrition knowledge to the house's healthful advantage. "I'm gluten-free and also a holistic nutritionist, so I was always trying to show off my skills when I had the opportunity, especially with my gluten-free baking," Molzahn says. While the contestants aren't allowed to make their own grocery runs, they are allowed to request specific foods on the group grocery list. According to past participant Jaclyn Swartz, one of the girls "was raw [and] vegan at the time and 99.9 percent of the girls were gluten-free."
The Rose Cermonies mark the one night a week the women are treated to catered food, but according to Spivey the selection usually doesn't feature the healthiest options—"think California Pizza Kitchen and fried chicken tenders." Not exactly what you want to eat while in a skin-tight ball gown, perhaps. During out-of-town hotel stays, contestants eat "hotel food all day, all night," according to Swartz.
The food situation was similar on the Bachelor spin-off series Bachelor Pad, during which the men and women would cook and grill among themselves. However, the group featured on the show's newer spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise, have it made in the shade with vacation-style "catered buffets for every meal," including "grilled fish, quesadillas, and the best made-to-order pico de gallo I've ever had," Swartz says.
As for that untouched food on dates, Swartz says the food "is usually good, but the catch is that you aren't supposed to eat it! No one wants to watch people stuffing their face on a date." Instead, contestants often eat before the dates and quickly munch on the restaurant's food while the other person is doing their one-on-one interviews with the producers.
And, as any Bachelor fan knows, the one thing that is definitely never lacking in the mansion is booze. "Alcohol is constantly available and overflowing, 24/7," Molzahn says. So, when you're playing your Monday night Bachelor in Paradise drinking game, keep in mind: the contestants are probably just as buzzed as you are.