This is the first in a series of interviews with prominent NYC chefs and food experts. This week, Jesse Curti spoke with Queens-bred Aditi Malhotra, CEO/Owner/Chocolatier of Tache Artisan Chocolate. This interview has been edited.
Q: How is dating different for a chef?
A: Each level of working in a kitchen requires a different schedule. When I was working at Morimoto (as a line cook) we were working anywhere from 50-70 hours per week and late into the night so it left little time to date. When you’re out for after-work drinks at 3 AM, it’s not the best time to meet someone.
Q: Any serious requirements for who you’ll go out with?
A: Chefs love to talk about food, so whoever I date needs to love food and needs to love dining out, or at least appreciate it. And they need to be open to adventure and being spontaneous, because I love to try new places.
Q: Is dating someone in the food industry easier or harder?
A: I’ve dated a lot of chefs – the first rule is, you should never date someone that you work with. I know the saying goes for a lot of places, but in a kitchen it should be written in a book somewhere because it’s much smaller and like a family. Granted, a lot of people have the perception that chefs like to party until God knows what time in the morning and do a lot of drugs, which is not true. A lot of us do have very stable lives. We wake up early, we go to the gym, we talk to our families, we go to bed a decent time.
Q: What’s the best food date that you’ve ever been on?
A: I’ve gone on a lot of food dates with chefs where you’re literally eating from morning until night. If the date was four hours, I would love to go on a food tour. I went on a date a couple of weeks ago on the Lower East Side where I went from one restaurant to another restaurant to a cafe to a bakery.
Q: What would you cook for your “Let’s get serious” dinner?
A: I would do a three course meal. I’d start off with a salad with kale, buttered beans, sun-dried tomatoes, maybe some fennel. Then I’d probably make a fish, like a sea bass or an herb-crusted salmon. Maybe pistachio or candied walnut on top, a little glaze served with mixed vegetables sautéed. For dessert I would make a chocolate cake (of course) or a chocolate mousse or passion fruit cheesecake or guava cheesecake.
Q: What’s your take on dating people with dietary restrictions?
A: I’ve dated people with food restrictions, I’ve dated people with allergies. I need someone who’s open to trying new things that has a sophisticated palate. I wouldn’t date a vegetarian. I wouldn’t be able to do it.
Q: What kind of eating habits turn you off?
A: I grew up in the restaurant industry, my family owns many restaurants and bakeries. You really need to have good manners and treat service staff well, and you need to appreciate good service. I like it when a date asks you where you would like to eat and what you are craving. Food sets a mood for many different circumstances. if you’re on a date and the food was horrible and the service was horrible, more than likely you’re going to be in a bad mood and the date is going to go poorly.
Q: Tell me about your worst date ever.
A: The worst date I have ever been on was also probably a first date. Either conversation was lacking, we had different interests, different lifestyles and overall different beliefs. I don’t like guys that are too self-involved and too cocky or arrogant. Also, if my date took me to a bad restaurant or just made a poor choice in dining on a first date, definitely doesn’t give me much hope for enjoying a second date with them.
For a unique chocolate-making class with Aditi, check out our Couples Site.