My boyfriend Robert was telling me a story about his 8 year old son Julian who, by most accounts, is becoming quite the culinary elitist. In this particular story they had been to a family party and Julian was refusing to eat hot dogs and chips along with the other kids and was instead insisting upon tri-tip and grilled vegetables with the adults. At the end of the evening, Robert saw Julian sneak into the kitchen to grab what he believed was another brownie. As Robert was about to reprimand Julian for sneaking sweets he saw that what he had actually gone back for was another slice of steak. I can’t help but smirk each time I hear tales of Julian’s food snobbery because I find it both hilarious and endearing.

When Robert and I started dating about a year and a half ago I anticipated that Julian and I would become fast friends. Any kid whose favorite foods were raw oysters and fresh salmon was more than o.k. in my book. I am a private chef for a family with three kids and after many nights of having to make their food “kid friendly” I was relieved to think that perhaps there was a kid in my world who was my culinary equal. I knew that I had hit the jackpot when I met Robert, a talented photographer who happens to be as obsessed with food and wine as I am.

As any chef knows, dating someone who not only appreciates food, but really “gets it” and is willing to indulge in all aspects of it to the extent that you do is a true find. As any chef also knows, it is quite rare to find someone who is willing to cook for you who doesn’t feel the need to qualify each dish with, “this is nothing fancy” or constantly apologizing for not producing Joel Robuchon calibre food. So I am regularly delighted when Robert decides that he is doing the cooking and that all I need to do is show up. My favorite times are when he and I are in the kitchen together and perhaps the best times of all are when Robert, Julian, and I cook together.