Sophie Watson, 13.11.2015

Romantic dinner ideas: what to cook and how to ace your meal

There’s something undeniably special about having someone cook you a romantic meal but, if you’re the one in the kitchen, it can also be undeniably stressful. To help ease the pressure for gourmet gallants, EliteSingles talked to British television chef Dean Edwards, who taught us his best romantic dinner ideas.

The importance of a romantic dinner

As the old saying goes, the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. British celebrity chef Dean Edwards agrees, noting that ‘’taking the time to enjoy food is a massive thing for me: whether home cooked or in a restaurant environment, it’s a chance to chat, engage and interact away from the stresses of the day. We should definitely be making more of an effort to make this time a focal point of the day.’’

Eating together is indeed a wonderful way to bond as a couple; even more so if you can create a gorgeous, sensuous dinner for you both to share. Here are Dean’s best tips on getting it right:

Step one: get prepared

Everyone who’s spent time cooking has a kitchen-disaster story up their sleeve. While these may be hilarious with hindsight, they often don’t seem so funny at the time – and ruined food plus a frazzled chef is not going to equal romance! That’s why it’s so vital to think about your romantic dinner ideas ahead of time.

Dean’s top advice when it comes to getting ahead is simple – give yourself time to get ahead. ‘’Plan your menu in advance'' he says (making sure to check for likes/dislikes and food allergies), then ''prepare as much as you can beforehand, as it won’t be very romantic if you are in the kitchen all evening, which will end in you neglecting your guest.’’ 

Of course there’s little use in planning until you have the menu sorted. We asked Dean for his favourite romantic dinner ideas and he championed one essential ingredient: chocolate. ‘’We’ve heard all about the usual suspects, asparagus, oysters etc. But, let’s be honest, chocolate is an absolute winner for me’’ he grinned.

Step two: get cooking

There’s no surprises then, that chocolate features in Dean's favourite romantic dinner menu. He recommends starting off with a roasted red pepper gazpacho with some crusty sourdough, moving on to a Spanish chicken and chorizo stew with rosemary potatoes and finishing the whole thing off with his exquisite buttermilk pancakes with cherries and chocolate drizzle. Sound good? You can find the recipes in the above infograph.

The great thing about this menu, according to Dean, is that you can prepare most of it in advance, and ‘’less time spent on the food equals more time with your guest.’’ He recommends to following steps to ensure success:

‘’Make the gazpacho ahead of time and chill until needed. The chicken stew can also be made ahead of time and re-warmed when needed, then served with some rosemary sauté potatoes. Finish with some light and fluffy pancakes with seasonal fruit and a dark chocolate drizzle (which all cook in minutes).’’

Step three: get romantic

So you’ve got your menu sorted – you’re well on your way to romantic dinner date success. There’s just one more piece of the puzzle to sort out before you get started – the ambience.

Dean says that, as long as you’ve made an effort to make something tasty, then ‘’the food should speak for itself’’ when it comes to wow factor. That said, a little mood setting can go a really long way: ‘’try to create a comfortable ambience, music, wine, conversation and great food, what more could you ask for? ’’ With Dean’s romantic dinner ideas and our romantic Spotify playlist (below), what more indeed?

Are you ready to find that person to wow and who will wow you? Then join EliteSingles today.

About Dean Edwards

Dean Edwards has been cooking for UK television audiences since becoming the runner-up of Masterchef in 2006. His new cookbook Feelgood Family Food is out now - for more details, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.