Before I was with my boyfriend and as a teenage waitress I had a very stereotypical view of chefs: they're angry in the kitchen, swear a lot, drink a lot and have a general bee in their bonnet. They get pissed when a waitress tells them a customer is complaining, moan about being behind a hot stove and work ridiculous hours.
Now I know I was slightly wrong. In fact, the first romantic gesture my boyfriend made was putting a rose made out of a tomato skin on a tuna sandwich I'd ordered for lunch.
But being with a chef has thrown up similar situations time and time again.
When you tell someone your boyfriend is a chef, you will pretty much always get the same reaction - oh yes of course because he cooks for a living I get showered with lush dinners every single night.
Aside from the reaction from others, here's a few other things I've experienced thanks to my boyfriend's chosen career.
1. Working a 9-5? You'll be completely out of sync.
On your lunch break, he's at his busiest making other people lunch. When you've finished work and go home for dinner he's at his busiest making other people's dinner. JUST ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE.
His view on 9-5? "It's basically part-time".
2. You will most definitely get asked: "What's the best meal he's ever cooked you?"
I used to actually think about it and answer honestly. Everything's pretty great.
Now? Now I just mumble something about the last thing he cooked me and quickly move on. Yawn.
3. And then you'll get asked: "OMG do you get free food at his restaurant?"
4. People will say "I'd love to date a chef and have him always cook for me".
They forget he works 60+ hours a week. Never has weekends off. Is basically never around.
5. You'll without a doubt notice his hands smelling of garlic and that callous on his finger from holding a knife all day.
Not the best.
6. ... But he's pretty much on hand whenever you have a cooking query/disaster/anything of the kind.
"How long can I leave tuna in the fridge?"
"What if my mince has gone grey in the pan?"
"What do I do with kale?"
7. His body clock is completely different to yours.
You're ready for bed, he's still in the kitchen. Try to stay awake, can't.
8. Your views on bank holidays differ. A lot.
Me: "Yay, three-day weekend."
Him: "Shit. Three-day weekend... of work."
9. You realise there's a big difference between the cookbooks you own and the ones he does.
And he definitely doesn't want to be flicking through Jamie Oliver's 15-minute meals for inspiration.
10. You will find yourself watching Great British Menu, Masterchef, Saturday Morning Kitchen.
And you recognise famous chefs, not realising he's completely influenced your TV routine.
11. Cooking for him is a lot of pressure.
Yet, you'll find yourself being asked: "Have you ever cooked for HIM?" (no).
12. He ALWAYS wants to eat out..
.. and orders half the menu just because "Oh but I have to try that. And that."
13. Don't. Touch. His. Knife.
It's "too sharp", dangerous, or completely out of bounds. Even for his nearly 25-year-old girlfriend. Please?
14. You will cringe at his footwear choice.
You then realise the demographic of people that wear Crocs are 14-year-old kids... and chefs.
15. A whole weekend together is practically unheard of.
It takes months of planning and holidays requests and JUST STOP WORKING SO MUCH.
16. No holiday will be complete without going to THAT restaurant the country is famous for.
Him: "We have to go to this restaurant it's like the best restaurant in the world."
Me: "You said that last week."
17. Your boyfriend quickly becomes the go-to reference guide for all things catering for your friends and family.
"Ask him X and how I cook X and does he also know what to do with X, X, X?"
18. To avoid food envy at restaurants, just pick what he picks.
He gets the best stuff. Always.
19. ... And you always trust his instinct.
Him: "You have to try these chicken hearts."
Him: "And lamb brain"
20. You get no sympathy after a burn or oil splash.
Looking at his hands, you can't complain.
21. When you suggest to stay in and cook a nice meal on his evening off, he's just like...
22. But yes it is lovely and he cooks nice food and makes nice dinners and teaches you how to cook and gives you tips and IT'S NOT ALL THAT BAD.
Pic credit: Justin De Souza