Cooking, Laughing, and Lasting Love: A Chef’s Guide to Finding the One

By Melissa Lee

Do you know what the most popular recreation cooking class is? Couple’s date night! Recently, Cambridge School of Culinary Arts has won Scout’s Honored “Best Date Night Spot” for the second year in a row.


I am honored to work at CSCA and create delicious memories with many couples. Over those years, I’ve taught young couples, older couples, some were married, some had just started to date, straight, gay. All of the couples who take my classes seem happy together, and I have a theory why. One of the things that keep couples happy together is the willingness to try new things.


The most popular classes that I teach at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts are Sushi Couple’s Date Night and Sushi and Sake Pairing Date Night. I usually start my class by asking each student if they love sushi or sake. Some have never tried sushi or sake. They came because their partners are interested, and they want to learn with their partners.


My favorite class to teach is Sushi and Sake Pairing. I am level 3 certified sake sommelier. I’ve seen many couples walk into the classroom with zero understanding of sake and walk out with an ability to read Chinese letters and decode a label. Taking them to Japan through food and sake has brought me so much joy.


Have you ever cooked with your partner? If not, I highly recommend it. I’ve observed many couples cooking together over the years. Those who cook together stay together. Learning, growing, and experiencing something special with your partner can be very rewarding.


While there are different dynamics between each couple, I see some commonalities amongst them.


#1: They have fun no matter what.


Happy couples like to praise each other, so if one of them makes an impressive maki, the other one would take a photo and give a compliment. Even when the end product is falling apart, happy couples are still having fun. They tease each other and laugh. They eat the sushi and drink the sake and are not bothered that the end product was not perfect.


So, when you are cooking with your date, try to see if they can have fun in any situation. If oil spills on the pan, do they scream and run away or do they stay calm and find the fun. If the end product is barely edible, can they laugh and be positive?



#2: They look after each other


I usually let couples take turns making nigiri, tameki, and makis. I noticed that a lot of people who are in happy relationships wait to eat until their partner is finished making it. They prefer to have wonderful experiences together. I often do demonstrations and give the end product to a couple. Sometimes one person would rather let the other person enjoy it. It’s a small gesture, but it means a lot for the relationship. When you cook with your partner, see if they get excited to share the food with you. Also, do they serve the food to you before they serve themselves?


#3: They work as a team.


Teamwork makes the dream work. Happy couples are good at dividing work amongst themselves. Take making tempura, for example. The standard process is to dip the shrimp in flour, then add the egg, and then the panko. Happy couples can form an assembly line and work efficiently together. One is in charge of dipping in flour, and the other is in charge of the egg and the panko. There is prep work to make a meal together. See if your date is happy to contribute, such as grocery shopping, washing the vegetables, or setting up the table.


Last but not least, before you send out the invitation to ask them to cook with you, I have some do’s and don’ts to share with you.


  • Don’t do it when you’re stressed. Cooking together is supposed to be fun and relaxing. So, don’t do it in a stressful situation, like after working a long day or before a project is due.


  • Don’t be stressed about what to cook and how the end products come out. The most important thing is to do something fun together.


  • Do turn on music that you both like.


  • Do pour a glass of wine, champagne, or craft beer if that will help both of you unwind. Start at happy hour with some booze and end it in a happy hour with each other in bed. Trust me, those who cook together, stay together!


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