As the star of the second series of “The Bachelorette” on ABC, Meredith Phillips is certainly no stranger to the dating world. And as a professionally trained chef, she’s certainly no stranger to the cooking world, either.
Intertwining her lifelong love of cooking and her expertise on relationships, Phillips takes you through 25 different three-course menus in her new book, “The Date Night Cookbook: 25 Easy-to-Cook Menus for the Busy Couple."
Though spending quality time with a partner can seem difficult in today’s busy world, this book offers a variety of meal ideas that are practical enough for a weeknight, yet still refined enough for a romantic dinner for two. In addition, all dishes contain seasonal produce as well as readily available ingredients.
Phillips, a managing partner of ProChef, Inc., hopes to make it easy and fun for her readers to be able to dine in, especially with loved ones, while still preparing delectable appetizers, main dishes and desserts. The book also includes photographs of Phillips preparing the meals, as well as close-ups of the finished product.
Phillips recently sat down to talk to LA’s The Place about her love for cooking.
LATP: After a successful modeling career and two reality shows, what made you decide to go to culinary school?
Meredith Phillips: I have always wanted to go to culinary school. I wanted to do something I was passionate about.
LATP: Has cooking been a life long interest for you?
MP: Yes, from the time I was very little. My mom and grandmother were my role models.
LATP: What is your favorite thing to cook by yourself and what is your favorite thing to cook with your boyfriend Fritz?
MP: When I cook by myself, it is usually light and healthy, salads and soups. When Fritz and I cook together, there are no boundaries, we will try making anything.
LATP: Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?
MP: Lately I’ve been taking my mom’s classics and giving them a new twist. I also like to explore the different neighborhoods of Los Angeles to find inspiration, they are so diverse ethnically, you can travel the world of food in an afternoon.
LATP: How do you keep date night fresh and fun?
MP: We try new challenging recipes and also mix up the tasks in the kitchen.
LATP: Is shopping for the ingredients part of the ritual for date night?
MP: Yes! We try to shop the day of, hitting farmers markets or ethnic markets to get the freshest ingredients. If we can we shop together for added quality time.
LATP: Should a couple with little to no cooking experience just dive in or start off easy and build up?
MP: Dive in! Cooking should be fun and not stressful. Some of our best meals have come from happy accidents. That being said, taking a neighborhood cooking class together can help both of you get comfortable in the kitchen.
LATP: What do you recommend for a couple who has complete opposite tastes in food? Such as if one is a vegetarian and the other is not?
MP: Try to work hard at finding a happy medium. Like in any successful relationship its important to find common ground. Try each others favorites from time to time.
LATP: How long do the meals in the Date Night Cookbook generally take to make?
MP: Most of my recipes take between thirty minutes to an hour. Nothing should take so long that you couldn’t make it on a weeknight.
LATP: What is the best thing to come out of your date nights with Fritz?
MP: Besides great meals, communication. It’s invaluable time to reconnect and listen to each other.
LATP: If you could give one piece of advice to couples about starting their own date night, what would it be?
MP: Pick a night and try really hard to stick to it. Make it a priority. Our date night is Tuesday and we haven’t missed one yet.