Introducing Chefboy: The new floppy-haired fuckboy cooking his way into your heart
‘Babe, you’ve hardly touched your nduja rigatoni’
Fuck boys are like norovirus–they’re always evolving. Just when you thought they were bicep bearing rugby boys, they became Carhartt wearing relationship anarchists with beanie hats and no interest in monogamy. It’s hard to keep up.
Right now, the sluttiest thing a man can do is get you in a corner and whisper the knee-weakening first date suggestion: “I’ll cook for you” in your ear. Skill is, obviously, varied depending on who you’re dealing with. And fuckboy chefs (Chefboys, if you like) range from floppy-haired guys with a Waitrose card to tote-bag toting philosophy students.
But there are many other signifiers which could warn you that you’ve stumbled into a Chefboys kitchen. So, here are 26, alphabetically organised, indicators that you’re about to get your heart broken via your stomach:
A – Artisan bread
It could be from Gail’s, a farmer’s market, or hand kneaded by him that morning but, whatever happens, Chefboys will always have crusty loaves ready for soaking up the sauce of the evening. Sourdough is usually present but don’t be fooled by an olive bread either.
B – Basil, ‘banging’ food, Brooklyn Beckham hatred
Basil is essentially the fuckboy of the herb world. Everybody likes them, and they get themselves everywhere. So, expect to see it as a garnish.
Obviously, all of the food throughout the night will taste ‘banging’ – a phrase they’ll have picked up from various TikTok famous chefs – except Brooklyn Beckham, who they can’t stand ever since he made “squish burgers” on TV.
C – Cig breaks
What is a Chefboy without his hand-rolled ciggies, which you will have to stop eating to smoke approximately six times throughout the evening. He will probably tell you puffing on your blueberry vape is spoiling the flavours of the dish, though.
D – Deliveroo
Sometimes these Chefboys have so much on their plates (haha) they don’t even get a break in their dating schedules to actually prep food for you. Instead, you’re lured over under false pretences of food and candle light only to find Deliveroo boxes scattered across the table and an irresistible apologetic look in his eyes. Run.
E – E. coli
The more experimental the Chefboy gets, the bigger danger you’re in. Think that duck he bought from the artisan (read: dodgy) butcher he met in the pub on Saturday night looks suspicious? Don’t take the chance. Just order Maccies on the way home.
F – Family money
Do you spy Le Creuset dishes, underfloor heating and heavy copper saucepans? He’s not making his millions on his food vlogs, we promise. His parents are funding his wining and dining fuckery with Ocado orders and Roasting Tin books for Christmas.
G – G&Ts, Gorillas sponsorship
He’s just explaining why black garlic is way superior to white when he realises he left the tenderstem broccoli off his shopping list. No to worry, the sponsor of all Chefboy content creators is here to save you: grocery delivery service, Gorillas. And, may as well chuck some Gordon’s in that groceries order too. Because pudding is more alcohol, obviously.
H – Hinge, hummus
Minutes after you’ve arrived at his house he asks you to check the BBC Good Food recipe on his phone because his hands are covered in marinade. You see HUNDREDS of Hinge notifications because a photo of him in an apron has turned all the girl feral. Just as you’re about to ask him about it, he distracts you with Kettle Chips and red pepper hummus. Shit.
I – Intense eye contact, ironic football scarves
He’s not really a bloke core kind of guy but he thinks the Arsenal scarf is a pretty good edition to his fit and that Saka is a legend. You nod and laugh and say that makes total sense because he’s giving you a smouldering gaze while he sautées onions and you kind of like it.
J – Jazz (of the Tom Misch/lo-fi variety)
What would a dinner be without the Chefboy’s carefully curated “chill but vibey” playlist to quietly soundtrack your evening? Poppy Ajudha, Jorja Smith, and Pip Millett are all on there. Also expect some Tom Misch, Bellaire and Dusty Springfield, tbh.
K – Knife skills
He can chop really fast and it’s sexy. Is this a primal urge? No idea. But it does something to you. The dicing, the slicing – it’s almost too much.
L – Low lighting
Candles, lamps, scarves over those lamps. Whatever the technique– things are about to get fucking atmospheric. As long as he’s managed to get his housemates to go out for the evening, anyway.
M – Mob Kitchen
They listen to the podcast, they own the book, they’ve been to the meet-ups. So, unless you want to be shown hastily out of their house, Mob Kitchen is life and anything else is slander. “It doesn’t matter that they cook with orzo in 80% of their recipes, that’s just part of the charm ok?”
N – Nduja
Spices up everything, apparently. And, if you’re vegetarian he’ll tell you it’s less of a sausage and more of a sauce so there’s really nothing to worry about x
O – Ottolenghi, one hoop earring
Yotam Ottolenghi taught Chefboy that there are five million different ways to cook an aubergine and that harissa is a cupboard essential. His Guardian recipes are bible and Chefboy doesn’t care that most of them take over three hours to make. You’re starving, but mixing up the Za’atar pesto is the priority right now. Sigh.
As he works away at the sauce, you see his hoop earring glimmering in the light. He got the piercing in first year as “a joke” but never took it out, he claims.
P – Pasta water
If there’s one thing Chefboy cares more about than protecting the reputations of Mob Kitchen and Ottolenghi it’s “PRESERVING THE PASTA WATER”. If you don’t do it, you’re a heathen and have been eating sad and un silky spaghetti for years. Probs just see yourself out.
Q – Questioning your ability in the kitchen
Even if you have an interest in food it’s not as big as his. Do you know who Santiago Lasta is? Asma Khan? Masaki Sugisaki? Have you watched all six seasons of Chef’s Table? No? Then you’re inferior and he will be patronising enough to let you know about it.
R – Risotto, rock salt
Every man you ever date will make you a risotto. That is just a fact of life. But this one will is drowning in white wine, seasoned with Cornish rock salt and finished off with shit tonnes of pancetta.
S – Super soft voice, sake
You can sort of hear him over the pasta boiling but sometimes he speaks so softly you wonder if it’s a power play. As you get closer (so, you can actually figure out what he’s saying mainly) he offers you a shot. Tequila? Great. Wrong, sake from a brewery in Peckham. Great.
T – Tote bags, Thomas Straker’s TikTok
He has a tote bag because he cares about the planet but he’s okay with the environmental impact of his regular 4am habit. He tells you about deforestation as he scrolls through Thomas Straker’s TikTok. “This guy really loves butter. It’s insane.”
U – Underlying mummy issues, untamed hair
He’s dishevelled in a careful way. Messy but still hot. He seems to have some problems communicating his emotions and just keeps laughing when you try and ask him more about his family. Odd.
V – Very expensive rent (that his parents pay), vegetable patch
He’s chopping tomatoes he grew in his thriving vegetable garden that he spent lockdown expanding – just one of the insanely adult elements of his otherwise unkept flat. Won’t tell you how much his rent costs. Doesn’t seem to have a stable job to pay it.
W – Wine (loads of it)
You brought a bottle of white round but you haven’t seen it since. Instead he’s pouring Malbec he picked up on his gap year in Argentina and telling you anything with a screw cap “is never worth drinking”.
X – (e)X girlfriends everywhere
You have a sneaking suspicion you’re not the first person he’s cooked for. He keeps talking about a “friend” who made this recipe with him. “This girl” he went to your favourite restaurant with. You start to lose track of all the exes he has – he never asks you about yours.
Y – Yellow stained baccy fingers
He hands you your plate with hands the colour of saffron and tar. You put your fork into the food but he’s already rolling another cig and pulls you into the freezing garden before your first mouthful. Brilliant.
Z – Zero attempt to wash up
He’s done his bit. So, you load the dishwasher, scrub the pans, and engage in some straight up housemaid worthy labour. When he’s done scrolling on Twitter he asks you if you want to go upstairs. Romance.