Love Illustrated is a HuffPost comic series that captures the realities of modern love.
It’s easy to have romantic notions of what dating an aspiring chef might be like ― an elaborate, tasty dinner on the table by the time you get home from work every single night, for example. But, in truth, it’s not as glamorous as you might think.
Artist Dingding Hu, who lives in New York City and was raised in China’s Szechuan province, came to realize this when she began dating her boyfriend five years ago.
When they met, he was in culinary school and was, as she puts it, “really invested in his craftsmanship.” So he offered to prepare Hu homemade khao soi ― a Thai coconut curry noodle soup ― for a special occasion: her birthday dinner. So thoughtful, right? Well, unfortunately, preparation took a bit longer than expected. Hu captured the experience in the form of a comic:
These days, Hu’s boyfriend works as a captain at a Michelin-starred restaurant and is preparing to be a sommelier. And, though she loves dating someone in the restaurant industry ― yes, there are definitely some perks ― it’s certainly not for everyone.
“Food is my biggest passion in life, so dating an industry guy helped me learn so much food-related knowledge,” she said. “There’s always someone to help me test out whatever recipe I am interested in eating. Sometimes we have easier access to making difficult reservations at famous restaurants. And this year, I get to drink many free cocktails at home because my boyfriend is studying them.”
But there are some challenges, too, namely the long work hours and the fact that people in the restaurant business often work evenings when others are off.
“I need to check with him every week on when he is not working to make couple plans, and often he leaves for work in the afternoon and comes back home after midnight,” Hu said. “I cannot contact him when he is at work. I am lucky that right now I manage my own working schedule, so it is easier for me to adapt to this.”
Creatrs is a collective of Tumblr’s most talented artists. HuffPost has partnered with Tumblr — which is also owned by Oath, HuffPost’s parent company — to create this original illustrated series.