It’s date night at Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani’s house. And what does this Italian stallion have up his sleeve to impress his date? A seven-course meal, complete with wine pairings. “I’d then pair each course with a different flower, or note.”
Viviani's menu is not for amateurs (a roast chicken or pappardelle Bolognese might be challenging enough) — he knows his way around a kitchen. For those who aren't professional chefs, “Just make something that you know they will like,” says Viviani. Have something simple, like an appetizer and cocktail, ready for when they arrive. Avoid herbs like cilantro and mint, or too much soy sauce, cautions Viviani — they’re a deal breaker. “They’re well known to stop your sex drive!” Try aphrodisiacs like oysters, figs, or chocolate, instead.
It’s the Thought That Matters
Not comfortable cooking? Nothing is wrong with serving some small bites, like cured meats, deli meats, or sliced cheese. And buy a nice bottle of wine. “Remember, it’s the thought of preparing a meal at home that matters most,” Viviani adds. Most would agree, as who can say no to a meal that your date wants to cook for you at home? “Nothing is more meaningful than cooking for someone you care about,” he says.
How to Impress Your Man
For the women reading, a roast chicken or steak is great, but, Viviani says, “Men like to be pampered. Food is definitely good, but men will be impressed regardless of whether you make lobster or spaghetti and meatballs. So give him a massage.”
Viviani’s Dream Date Night
When planning a date night at home, it’s not just about the menu (or the wine). Setting the perfect romantic environment and small details like lighting matter, too. Start by cleaning house first, putting on a nice outfit, and picking up some beautiful flowers, recommends Viviani — they don’t have to be fancy.
His finishing touch? A good amount of wine, and a great playlist of soft music, including "Booty Swing" from Parov Stelar, "Santeria" from Sublime, "Rolling in the Deep" from Adele, and "Love Rollercoaster" from the Ohio Players.
Dodging Date Night Disaster
Burnt the roast or spilled wine all over the person dining across from you? Don’t worry, urges Viviani — it’s not going to send the other person running and ruin the chances of a second date. “Act like nothing major happened,” he suggests. Just move on, or insert a little humor, Viviani adds. “If it’s just a glass of wine, you can say that you heard it is good luck. If you cut yourself, all you have to say is ‘You're too beautiful, I have no time to bleed now.’ And being honest about your mistake is cute.”