Setting the mood…in the kitchen. By Tim Ebner
Rocky Fino isn’t a classically trained chef, and he doesn’t expect many other guys to be one either. But when it comes to cooking, he says a man should know how to use a saute pan and a few simple seasonings, for no other reason: it impresses women.
So instead of scouring OpenTable for a reservation at the hippest small-plates, foodie restaurant, Fino says, keep your date at home. In his book, Will Cook for Sex: A Guy’s Guide to Cooking, he maps out recipes and cooking techniques for even the most whisk-challenged male. Cooking, like love, he says, is a basic art, and it can definitely help set the mood for a romantic evening.
Before Fino takes the stage for a cooking demonstration this weekend at the Metro Cooking and Entertainment Show, in Washington, DC, TANR sat down to talk with him about the food supplies that every guy needs in their cupboard and the expectations for a morning-after meal.
TANR: Tell me about why you decided to write this book?
So I’m not a culinary school graduate. I wrote this from the perspective of an everyday guy. But, I learned to cook from my dad when I was first out of college and living with him for a while. At the time, he would comment that most people don’t take the time to cook for themselves or other people. And, it’s kind of simple to do. So I took that message and combined it with my writing background, and I created a book that is a cookbook for guys. Most guys have a mindset of: ‘Why should I cook?’ Well, hopefully sex is a good motivation.
Does confidence in the kitchen translate to confidence in the bed?
I would say yes. It’s all about setting the mood. If you are chivalrous and show some talent, that will put her in the mood. Women are really fun… because they aren’t always impressed by your golf game or job, but more intrigued by other skills that are thoughtful and artistic. Cooking comes into that place. It’s one of the last bastions of artistry that we can use on a daily basis. And, it definitely sets a mood for her.
What are three things that every guy should have kept in their kitchen?
You should have some chocolate in the form of a bar. When in doubt go chocolate.
On top of that, every guy needs a good stash of wine. And, as far as food stock goes — I don’t hang too heavy on a certain seasoning or spice that you’ve got to have in the cupboard. I’m a fresh ingredient cook, and I let the food flavors speak for themselves. But, you want to keep a good selection of oils: lighter olive oils for salads and finishing touches, good cooking oils for your saute, and I like to work with coconut oils. If you have the opportunity to keep truffle and walnut oils, it just enhances the end result.
What if you have a small kitchen and not the fancier supplies to work with?
Cooking is one of those hobbies where you can never stop spending money on it… But, if you’re in a small kitchen and a confined space, you don’t need all that stuff. Get a set of good small, medium and large saute pans, and you can make a lot of things happen. And one sharp knife goes a long way. You don’t need the entire block.
What are the expectations for the morning-after if things go your way?
The next morning is key. It’s the follow through. It’s the impression you’re going to leave. Putting forth a little morning-after breakfast will go miles in her mind. A good breakfast is always a good thing too. I actually have a chapter in the book that’s all about the morning-after breakfast.
Rocky’s “Grown-up French Fries” (roasted fingerling potatoes topped with sour cream & caviar)
Any dishes you recommend for date night?
The key there is finding out what your date wants. I can say that salmon is a homerun but maybe she doesn’t like fish. So, open your ears up and find out what she likes. She might not be impressed by your barbecue ribs or Pittsburgh-style porterhouse. The key here is knowing your date and her needs. Have an idea for what kind of ingredients she appreciates and work from there.
Finally, is it bad to cover-up takeout as your own?
If you’re going to pull off the takeout as your own, you better be pretty smooth.
Look, if it’s takeout, it’s takeout. For guys who haven’t been in the kitchen much, I say ‘just try it.’ The effort alone is great… But, guys tend to bite off more than they can chew when it comes to taking on a new hobby. Similar in cooking, a guy thinks he can put together a five course, flawless meal all at once. I say take baby steps. Serve in courses, so you have time in-between courses to enjoy your meal. And, work your way up.