Santos doesn’t withhold his blunt opinions just because the cameras stop rolling. Learning that one of Ali’s biggest sellers is a General Tso’s Jerk Chicken, he asks sharply, “How is there General Tso and Jerk?” An explanation involving wet marinades and vacuum seals follows. After mulling it over, Santos finally nods and grunts in approval. Ali presses on. “I served it at a gay Caribbean wedding. At the tasting, this fashion stylist takes it and he’s like, ‘This is a scannnndalllll on a stick.’”
Though much of their conversation is peppered with talk about family recipes, Santos’ upcoming first book, and how to deal with troubling food trends—from the rise in obesity to an increase in people with gluten allergies— things turn to more standard fare. Like dating.
While both are dismissive of the ‘chefs as rock stars’ cliché, they aren’t exactly complaining about the perks. Santos, who now has a girlfriend in L.A., explains part of the appeal is in chefs’ “caveman-esque” aura. “We take care of people, provide sustenance. And we have this crazy lifestyle. We’re a little nutty. But we’re a little sophisticated, too. I’ve never used what I do to get a date, but I’ve been on a lot of dates because of what I do.”
“Exactly what he said,” Ali agrees. Yet, as the new bachelor confirms, “The thing that’s tough about this profession is that it’s hard to keep a girlfriend. Forget about dating a 9-to-5er.”
Still, there’s a glimmer of hope: “Of course a girl’s gonna be more interested than normal when you got a guy that can cook for you all the time and cook awesomely.”
In other words, for these guys who bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, cheffin’ ain’t easy, but it sure is fun.