Because this is Valentine's Day and I have no one special to cook for this year, and I'm a grown woman with needs (hey! I'm talking food now. Eyes up here!), I'm going to fantasize instead about all the men who could cook for me. Professionally, I mean.
1. Akhtar Nawab: Curry y'all
Akhtar Nawab is the first. Because I'm a sucker for the swarthy, especially swarthy who knows his way around a kitchen. And should the swarthy wear glasses? So much the better. Ultra special bonus points? This guy grew up in Kentucky. All this and he's got a southern accent!
Anyone who knows me at all knows that dark men with glasses and snark have me at hello... So yes, Akhtar -- can I call you Ocky? -- any Indian dish you want to cook up would be lovely. But if you're not in the mood you can make me some fried chicken instead. I hear you've got a secret recipe.
2. Mark Bittman: The Thinking Girl's Foodie Crush
I have a HUGE crush on Mark Bittman and I can't be the only one. He's clever and funny and on message about the joys of cooking at home and the importance of eating more consciously. I've read all his books. His How to Cook Everything is my Bible (and also in three pieces held together with rubber bands after more than a decade of heavy use).
Because of him my kids get pancakes from scratch every Sunday.
Ah yes, and he's not a chef. He makes that clear. But he does cook. And in a New York City kitchen that makes mine look like the Taj Mahal. He comes across as a regular guy who loves to cook, and is trying to convince everyone else that they should -- that they can -- cook too. Plus he's a working journalist. What's not to love about this guy? If I have a guru, he's it.
3. Emmanuel Delcour: Must Know the Mother Sauces...
Emmanuel Delcour isn't the thinking woman's crush. He's not the thinking girl's anything. He's just a beefcake, or whatever the French equivalent is. He is a chef, yes. He's also a model and and actor, which sort of kills it for me, but what are you gonna do? He is hot though. And I don't need him to think. I don't need him to speak. I need him to feed me lovely morsels by hand with his chef's jacket unbuttoned...
4. Mourad Lahlou: Cous-Cous and tats
And here's this Moroccan chef Mourad Lahlou.... GAHHHH!!!!
Because I'm also stupid for Moroccan cuisine. I own four Moroccan cookbooks. I've even got a tagine, for God's sake. One day I'm going to make those preserved lemons, I promise. What a blogpost that will be.
In the meantime, let me just drool at the man that is Mourad. Yeah, he's another good-looking chef who knows he's good looking, which takes much of the fun out of oggling him, but it's Valentine's Day. Let me just oggle the pretty chefs, ok?
5. Anthony Bourdain: The Original Kitchen Bad Boy
Last but not least, what list of hot chefs would be complete without the bad boy of the kitchen, Anthony Bourdain.
Who doesn't know about Tony Bourdain, he of the best-selling Kitchen Confidential and all those Food Network shows I've never seen. His cockiness (and writing ability) just drive me wild. Me and millions of other women (and men). Such a bad ass gets my Irish up. He can come over and cook me anything at all as long as it's not my neighbor's dog.
These are all men I think are hotter than broiled brisket. The Drama Teen, however, just looked over my shoulder and grimaced. Not a one is her type at all.
I don't care. She's a child. What does she know about anything? Least of all food...
But hey, cute is a matter of taste. I like curry and you may like sauerkraut. Surely we agree there are some tasty chefs out there.
Whose your Valentine's Day Fantasy Chef? Post your nominations in the comments section below!