Whether you’re organising a first date, celebrating an anniversary, or spicing things up with a long-term partner, a romantic dinner date is always a good idea. Bonus points if you step up to the stove and cook it yourself.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of hosting an at-home dinner-date, you’re definitely not alone. There’s so much to think about—from crafting a three-course menu to setting a sultry scene—that the pressure quickly stacks up. How can you take the stress out of your dinner date so that you can focus on what really matters: connecting with your S.O.?
Introducing cookbook author and The Final Table chef Mark Best. The chef recently partnered with premium home appliances brand AEG to host a next-level dining experience and deliver a series of home dining masterclasses.
Here, he reveals his hosting tips, date night recipes, and culinary techniques—including how to use AEG’s Matte Black oven and cooktop to take your cooking skills to the next level. Take note for your next dinner date.
marie claire: What are your secrets to creating the perfect menu for date night at home?
Mark Best: “The main thing is to make room for romance. That means having something ready to go that you’ve obviously put the effort into—this effort will be the measure of your date night outcome.
“I suggest some simple but elegant snacks, like my cucumber cups with miso and cream cheese. Freshly shucked oysters would also pair beautifully with bubbles to start.
“I like to keep the first course simple, too. Make a very refined pumpkin soup with blue cheese puffs to set the mood. Prepare a stuffed roast chicken with roast potatoes to follow as the main, with a simply dressed salad or organic greens. This is a menu that gives the sense you could be a keeper.”
MC: How can you ensure your cooking skills are up to the job?
MB: “Turn to your appliances for help. For example, the AEG Matte Black range makes cooking consistent and fun. If you are a little nervous, perhaps rely on the SensePro induction cooktop to do the heavy lifting, and the intelligent menu system of the SteamPro multifunction oven to give you the perfect result.
“Using the Steamify function on the oven, you can just select your desired cooking temperature and it will add the optimal amount of steam to match. This way, you’ll bring out the flavours and textures in the food you cook every time—guaranteeing a delicious meal your partner will love.”
MC: How can you set the scene and ignite the senses?
MB: “Lighting is essential. Curate your space with different lighting levels commensurate to the mood.
“Serve dinner in the different areas of your abode to keep the evening lively and interesting. For example, drinks over the kitchen island and appetisers on the couch. Curate a playlist that matches the menu and punctuates the different dining zones.”
Discover the recipes behind Mark Best’s moody date night menu below.
STARTER: Pumpkin soup with blue cheese puffs
DESSERT: Queen garnet plum pavlova
Brought to you by AEG.