The Art of the Date Night

Take-out and a movie is fine, but not if you really want to make an impression.

February 11, 2020

Bring it Home

Knowing the ins and outs of a perfect date night can mean the difference between a solo fist pump dance at the end of the evening or ordering take-out after the kitchen fire.

SideChef’s Founder & CEO, Kevin Yu, knows a thing or two about planning the perfect date night. A failed Valentine’s Day dinner became the inspiration for SideChef, the perfect wingman in the kitchen.

Start Simple

If it’s your first time tackling an impressive date night dinner, Kevin suggests keeping it simple. To start off on the right foot, basic planning is important. What ingredients do you have? What do you still need to buy? Kevin usually picks up ingredients on his way home from work, a day or two before the big night.

Look at the recipe and see if it’s something you can pull off. Don’t be too reserved, however; it’s important to appear adventurous. Pay attention to the cooking time so you're cool and collected on the big night. Most importantly, stay calm and let SideChef lead the way.

Recipe for Success

Think of a simple, fail-safe recipe that you just can’t mess up. Start off with an easy appetizer to keep them munching while you prepare the main entree (maybe a delicious dip). As a seasoned SideChef user, Kevin has built quite a list of recipes in his SideChef Cookbook. He has come a long way since the first recipe he ever made, Spinach Artichoke Dip. But this classic is pretty tasty, and will get your date amped up for more of the deliciousness coming their way.

Do a Dip

Classic Spinach Artichoke Dip


This dip is super simple to make, and goes super well with bread, crackers, or chips.

Date Night Diary

Kevin scrolled through the long list of recipes in his Cookbook with a slight smile, as most of his saved recipes represent a successful date night meal. His goal? In his words, to build a repertoire of stellar dishes he can make for many date nights to come.

Use Your Oven

Remember: your oven is your friend. When preparing a multi-course meal, it gives you time to work on other dishes as one cooks. Putting several ingredients together and popping them in the oven guarantees a pulled-together meal like this Baked Tomato Pasta by 30 Pounds of Apples. How ‘bout them apples?

Pasta, Please!

Baked Tomato Pasta

30 Pounds of Apples

This recipe features the tomatoes about as close to their natural form as is possible to get in a pasta “sauce.” To start, the tomatoes are simply sliced, squashed into a baking dish, and sprinkled with bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Yum!

Healthy Helpings

If your date is health-conscious, gobbling down a casserole dish full of carbs might not be the best way to go. Preparing a hearty garden salad and topping it with Abundant Harvest Organic’s Pomegranate Vinaigrette will do the trick.

Top it Off

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Abundant Harvest Organics

This Pomegranate Vinaigrette is the perfect homemade salad dressing for your winter salads. It’s packed with fresh pomegranate seeds and a dash of lemon juice, giving it a sweet and tangy flavor!

Wine and Dine

To build a relaxed atmosphere, Kevin suggests a good wine. It goes with everything, sets the mood, and is great for calming those first-date jitters. Keep the conversation light, and avoid talking too much. Just ask questions and let the amazing dinner and ambiance you’ve planned speak for you. Be funny and charming. Everyone loves funny and charming.


For white wines, try Chardonnay, a good choice for fish (even salmon) and chicken dishes. Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile wine that goes well with many meals, even salads.


If you feel like seeing red, a good old Merlot is the go-to for any meal, and the softness of Merlot has made it an introduction wine for red-wine newbies. If you’re serving a red meat, a Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice. Steak is definitely a perfect date night meal, sure to impress.

Nice to Meat You

Classic Pan-Seared Steak


Rich, hearty, and oh-so-delicious, this steakhouse star can be made in your kitchen in just a few minutes.

Perfect Pair

The best dish Kevin ever made on his first try was SideChef’s own Perfect Seared Salmon, with the perfect wine pairing too, of course. Pinot Noir is excellent with grilled salmon, chicken, lamb, and sushi rolls.

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Perfectly Seared Salmon


Searing fish is easier than you think! Have simple yet decadent salmon, done in minutes.

End on a High Note

To finish the night off, nothing says “they're a keeper” like a delicious dessert. A classic lava cake always does the trick.

I Lava You

Chocolate Lava Cake

The Fit Mediterranean

There are no words to describe how delicious this is, so you'll just have to make it to find out!

Happy Dating!

Whether it’s the first meeting or you’re in it for the long haul, good food and good conversation are a sure-fire way to score date number two. With SideChef's help, you can master the art of the perfect date night meal.

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