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09 June 2006

Meet the Chef

Danny in the kitchen III, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

“You taste like truffles,” he told me, when he came up for air after kissing me. We were standing on the end of a pier in Seattle, golden light bouncing off the grey water, at sunset.

We had been at a wine tasting, on a rooftop deck overlooking Puget Sound. The first sunny Seattle day, and tables of free wine. We meandered through the afternoon, slowly, laughing and talking. And after an hour and a half, just after telling me how much he loved reading this website, he leaned over and kissed me. We ran across the street, holding hands, skipping in the sunlight, suddenly children together, happy and laughing. At Union, we ate perfectly sauteed branzino, some gorgeous soft cheese with fig marmalade, and dishes of fabulous food I just don’t remember. I don’t remember because he kept leaning in for kisses, playful and affectionate, at the table, with his hand on my leg. I don’t remember the food.

We walked down to one of the piers, with that golden light bouncing off the water, and kissed and kissed and giggled. We looked each other right in the eyes. We were so comfortable with each other that it felt as though we had known each other much longer. We talked, a lot, about nothing much at all. And at one point, he reached out his hands, and pulled me into him, and started dancing with me. No music. Just dancing. I was happy to let him lead.

We walked up the Harbor Steps, holding hands, in the moonlight, kissing at every new level. He walked me to my bus, and he held me. He didn’t hug me. He held me. And he said, once again, breathlessly, “You taste like truffles.” “But I haven’t eaten any truffles,” I said. “I never have.”
“Oh, we’ll have to take care of that,” he told me. We both grinned. Somehow, we both knew. We were in this, together, for a long time to come.

Those of you who are regular readers may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much at all this spring. Well, there’s a reason why. Certainly, the end of school precludes writing here often. The Food Network shoot took up energy, gladly. And as I revealed in my last post, I now have a literary agent, and I’ve been working on the revision of my book proposal, in preparation for a possible book deal. However, as joyful and exciting as those realities have been, they have not kept me from this site. There’s really only one reason, one stunning, too-amazing-to-be-true-but-it-is reason that I have not been filling the pages of this website.
This has been the most spectacular year of my life. After being diagnosed with celiac disease last spring, and finally cutting gluten out of my life, I have never been healthier. This website has brought me consistent joy, a new world of food, and a plethora of incredible friends. There have been material gifts and honors. And finally, my lifelong dream — to be a working writer, creating books and seeing them published. How could I ask for anything more than what I have been given?

But, in one of those rare twists of fate that yields only happiness, I have been given more. This spring, the most spectacular gift of all: the Chef.

We met, improbably, online. Even though I wrote on Valentine’s Day that I didn’t really need a boyfriend, I realized I was just trying to convince myself. Everyone needs someone. I’ve had my share of relationships, each of them teaching me something essential, but not one of them stuck. For whatever reason, I had not met a single man who seemed like my match, someone with whom I could dance and cook and laugh, and envision myself doing it for the rest of my life. Over the past few years, I have tried online dating a couple of times. In this strange, internet world, who has not? But each time, it turned out to be a disappointment. After the last time I tried it— and a retinue of horrifyingly funny stories — I swore I would never do that again.


Several friends of mine are now in loving, committed relationships with men they met online. When I visited New York in February, those friends urged me to try again. So, I surrendered. I put up a profile on the most popular online dating site, with the following headline: “I’ll make roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and flourless chocolate torte. You do the dishes. We’ll dance in the kitchen.” To my surprise, I was flooded with responses. Write about food, and the men come calling. But the problem was, they all turned out to be disappointments. There were cups of coffee and glasses of wine with men who didn’t know how to laugh, or who weren’t really alive or interested in food, or men who seemed interested but turned out to be confused. It felt the same as before: strange and untenable. One man even wrote to me, after a volley of interesting emails, upon finding out that I cannot eat gluten: “I’m sorry. You seem great, but I really love bread, and I just can’t imagine dating someone who cannot eat wheat.” Oh god. After six weeks of trying this— and signing with my agent — I decided to devote my energies to my writing. Who needed this? I gave up. I vowed to never look again. I quit.

When I told the dating site to not renew my subscription, thank you, they informed me I still had five grace days left. Who cares? I thought. They’re all going to be the same. I vowed to not even look at the emails piling up in that account. But, curiosity grabbed me, the day before my subscription ran out. I flicked through all the people who had sent out requests, and even felt a small tug of self-satisfaction that I had made the right choice. No, no, no, no....wait.

Something in his eyes in that photograph looked familiar. In spite of my loudly voiced intentions, I clicked on the rest of his profile, and found out he is a professional chef in a well-respected restaurant in Seattle. Damn. Well, now I had to answer. But I expected nothing. I sent off a little “wink” back, imagining that I would not hear from him, ready for my dating days to finally be over.

To my surprise, he sent me an email the same day, with his real email address within it. (The dating service uses a double blind function, so that you never see each other’s real email address.) If he had not sent it to me that day, I would never have met him, since my subscription was about to expire. And his email had only one question: “If a man was to prepare a meal for you, what would you consider the ideal meal?”
Ay, that was hard to resist. So, in spite of my resolve, I sent him this answer: “Honestly, it would be this: one he made with love. With his own hands. In
season, beautifully seasoned. Made to connect, every taste an experience,
meant to be eaten mindfully. Surprising tastes. Wholly unexpected and
familiar at the same time. It would taste of laughter.”

He wrote back, and we started writing to each other about food, pouring out our favorite tastes and memories from childhood and places to eat. I kept my guard up — after all, I was done, right? — but he kept knocking it down.

Technically, we met through an online dating service, but truly, I feel like we met through this website. Within the first couple of days, I sent him the url to this site. And frankly, I did it to ward him off. Too many men had read this site and been intimidated by my writing, by my passions, by the length of these posts. I expected him to be the same. But he first grabbed my heart when he wrote a long email to me, telling me how much he loved this site, my writing, my enthusiasms for food. And the one post he loved most? The essay I wrote for my nephew’s third birthday. Oh, he really knows how to get to this gluten-free girl.

And so, we finally met. I walked into one of my favorite coffee shops, prepared to be disappointed. But he made me knock down my guards and give in to what we both knew within a few moments. In one of those improbable, once-in-a-lifetime ways, we both fell in love, immediately. For some reason, we both felt familiar to each other, within the first minute. We talked about food and touched each other’s hands and beamed with joy just looking into each other’s eyes. And we laughed and laughed and laughed. By the end of that first date, we were both goners.

Our second date was the wine tasting, kissing-at-sunset-at-the-end of the pier night. And then we spent the afternoon at Pike Place Market, where he bought me tulips, and we bought grapes, and fed each other triple cream cheese off the ends of our fingers as we sat in the park. We talked every day, he calling me from his restaurant to tell me what he was cooking that night, me telling him stories from school and what I had written that day. We never really dated. We just started our lives together. There were no games, no veneer, no wondering or hesitation. We just started loving each other.

We go to cheese festivals, eat brunch at French restaurants, look at food magazines together, walk downtown holding hands and stop at every restaurant to look at the menus of the day. We cook dinner together and eat langorous breakfasts on the weekends. We make plans to cook stocks and make salsa and shop at the farmers’ markets all summer long. We wake up in each other's arms, happy and warm. And then we spend the morning listening to the Beatles, drinking coffee with our legs intertwined as the sunshine falls through the blinds. Then, we look at menus online of restaurants we love and wonder what they are cooking right now. It's official. We're food geeks, goony in love.

This is a man who knows how much his 79-year-old father loves tomatoes and so sends heirloom tomatoes to him in Tucson by Fed Ex during the summer. This is a man who comes to my house at 11:30 at night, after working at his restaurant for ten hours, and cooks us a spectacular dinner, happily. This is a man who always makes sure that my cup is full of hot coffee. This is a man who makes potato leek soup with wild truffle honey at his restaurant, saying that he thought of me when he made it, then spoons some into my mouth and makes me want to cry, because it is the best soup I have ever eaten. This is a man who ran from the length of my kitchen to the the other side of the living room when he first ate my roast chicken, whooping and hollering at the taste of it, then stopped to do a jig on the kitchen floor. This is a man has a stack of pink post-it notes filled with all the different variations of mashed potatoes he wants to make. This is a man who makes the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten in my life. This is a man who eats three bowls of my Moroccan lentil soup. This is a man who calls me from his restaurant to tell me, in excited tones, about the basil oil he made that afternoon from the Thai basil we bought at the market that morning, and how he swirled the dark green liquid through the chilled tomato soup he made just after. This is a man who loves his food. This is a man who never makes me feel like the rank amateur cook I am, but who says he will teach me everything he knows.

There is, of course, so much more to him than his food. He is, truly, the sweetest man I have ever met. He adores his family: his mother and father; his four brothers and sisters; his nine nieces and nephews. He looks up at me in the mornings and I see pure adoration in his eyes. He is unabashedly goofy — we talk in stupid voices and make fart jokes and watch South Park together. He is a lifetime member of Amnesty International, and he believes in the dignity of human beings. He listens deeply. He pays attention to the world.

But food is central to him, as it is central to me. He is, without question, a sensualist, alive to his senses and living in his body. (And because this is a family website, I will say no more on that matter. But — yeah.) And as he told me within a couple of weeks of meeting me, the reason he has been cooking in restaurants since he was twenty years old? Because in making food, he can give people such joy.

Danny in his kitchen

On the night of the Food Network shoot, I went to his restaurant for the first time. He is the sole chef at a small restaurant here in Seattle, called Impromptu Wine Bar. This intimate place, with twenty-five seats and windows overlooking Lake Washington, is based around the impeccably chosen wines. Every three months, the restaurant changes the region of the world from which the wines come. And then, the Chef creates an entire menu, entirely of his own devising, and cooks the entire meal, from start to finish, every day. There are few chefs who can do this: maintain a relationship with the food producers, choose the cheeses, make the stocks and soups, create all the appetizers, grill and sautee the entrees, and conoct the desserts. And, after the first night there, I was amazed.

He had a table reserved for us, by the window. Every member of the staff had heard about me, so they all smiled when I said, "Hi, I'm Shauna." On the table, a vase full of purple tulips. Stephanie, the waitress, said, "Dan bought those for you." Oh. And in the arrangement, little squiggles of pea shoots, which he had bought at the farmers' market with me that morning. (He was actually with me the day of the film shoot, but I couldn’t reveal that yet when I wrote that post.) That got me, hard. He had them send over two glasses of red sparking wine (so good! you'd never expect it), then a bottle of wine. And then....a cheese platter, with three of the most delicious cheeses I have ever eaten. This young, soft pecorino, unlike anything I have ever tried. A St. Robert, which melted on touching with the tongue. And a goat cheese, densely packed, light taste, clean. I was in tears. My friend couldn't speak for the pleasure.

Then, a polenta dish, studded with roasted asparagus, topped with seared foie gras. For the entrees, he sent out a perfectly tender beef tenderloin, rare, on top of blue cheese mashed potatoes (the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten), with a port-balsamic reduction. Ahhhh. (And he made sure the blue cheese had been made in the US, and thus gluten-free.) And then, a perfectly grilled piece of rockfish, with kalamata olives and a bacon vinaigrette. It took everything I had to not lick both plates clean.

After the entrees, I told the waitress to go back to the kitchen and tell the Chef I said one word: joy. I looked up a minute later to see him standing in the doorway, smiling wide at me, arms thrust in the air. Then he started jumping up and down like a little kid.


For dessert, there was a polenta cake with lemon syrup. And fresh-made strawberry sorbet, which he made just for me. How could I not love this man?

What can I say? I'm madly in love. And laughing at the same time. How improbable. How wonderful.

And wonderfully, beautifully, I have a restaurant now where I KNOW I can eat gluten-free, and not worry about cross-contamination. The chef is impeccably careful about it for me, teaching everyone around him to bleach down the cutting boards and avoid bread crumbs assiduously. And this means that every one of you reading, those of you who must be gluten-free, you have one restaurant where you can eat safely too. Just tell the Chef that Shauna sent you.

The Chef is, without a doubt, tenderly aware of what will and will not make me sick. After I educated him a bit about gluten, he has never made an issue of it. He has certainly never made me feel odd because I cannot eat wheat. Once, while we were eating a spectacular meal at Palace Kitchen, kissing each other over the table, he did something that knocked me out. We had ordered a duck breast dish, with duck confit, asparagus, and potato gnocchi. He asked for the potato gnocchi to be put on a side plate, so it couldn’t touch my food. We had also ordered a grapefruit margarita, and we were sipping it between us. Halfway through the meal, I was prattling on about something happily, telling a story to my new love. I reached for the straw and nearly put my lips upon it. The Chef grabbed my hand, gently, and said, “Nope. I just drank from that, after eating the gnocchi. Don’t touch the straw. I don’t want you sick.” I drank from the side of the glass instead, and gulped back my tears. It’s amazing how a gesture like that can make me feel loved. This man, this chef, he takes care of me, beautifully.

If you want to understand just how much I care about this man, let me share this fact. In my kitchen, there is a drawer next to the stove containing a cutting board and a loaf of bread. And in the refrigerator is a six-pack of beer. For an entire year, not a single speck of gluten entered this house. But as soon as the Chef entered my life, I decided to let gluten back in, too. He is meticulous about using only that cutting board, then wiping down the counters. And when he eats bread, or drinks a beer, he refrains from kissing me until he has brushed his teeth. Having to wait — and knowing that he is taking care of me — only makes me want to kiss him more.

Shauna and Danny

So here we are, equally in love with each other, laughing and dazzling each other. No hesitation, no drama, no questions. I just love him. And he loves me. Recently, he said to me, "You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have never been this happy in my entire life." I feel exactly the same. And it is all because of food.

We have plans to make stocks all summer, experimenting with food every day. I can promise you this — the food I create for this site is going to grow better. The Chef is going to help me improve all the recipes for my cookbook. Everyone is going to benefit from this man.

And when we stand in the kitchen together, dancing and kissing, cooking food together, it is familiar and wholly unexpected at the same time. Beautifully seasoned. Connected. Every moment a mindful experience. Honest. Made with love. It tastes of laughter.

And by the way, of course, the Chef has a name. His name is Dan — only I can call him Danny — and I love him dearly.


At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was amazing.

Incidentally... I met my husband online. We danced on the pier with no music and kissed and danced on our second date.. only we were in Boston.

Now it is five years later and we just had our first child.

Life is beautiful.
Love is beautiful.

Eat, drink and be merry.

from.. a longtime lurker

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very magical.

Enjoy each other.


At 1:22 PM, Blogger Molly said...

Oh, my friend! You already know how I feel about all of this, and how excited I am for you. You know how much I love seeing you with Dan, and how eagerly I have wolfed down his delicious food. I can't say it enough: I am so happy for you, and so selfishly happy, too, to be in your life to see all this unfold - and how it has, so easily and effortlessly. You are a marvel, and the way you love is too.


At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can not believe you made me cry.

Congratulations on your happiness.


At 2:54 PM, Blogger Tea said...

It just gets better and better, doesn't it? I'm sitting in a cafe in SF all teary-eyed--and I had heard the story already! But your words brought it to life in a different way. I am so very thrilled for you and all the marvelous and wonderous events of late. Your passion and joy has moved so many people, it only seems right that someone comes along with the passion and joy to move you. Here's to cooking, dancing, and love (not to mention mashed potatoes). You make my heart happy. I am delighted for you both.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger GS said...

That is a beautiful story. I had hoped your recent quietness was due to happy things :)

I too met my partner on the internet. You have to kiss a few toads (or drink a few cups of bad coffee) sometimes before you meet the real thing. Congratulations.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger mc said...

I am so glad to see all the joy the world has brought you recently, Shauna. Your writing on this site shows so clearly what an amazing person you must be, and it sounds as though Dan is right there with you. Congrats on the agent, too -- can't wait to see the book!

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, beautiful account of your story! It's amazing.

I meet my now husband in person...but got to know each other on-line (he's from Texas, I from Virgina) Now a move (mine), marriage (8 1/2 years) and 3 kids is still great!

Can't wait for the cookbook! I'm also celiac - and love to cook - your food truly inspires me!

Lots of happiness.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Shauna!! 2 posts in a row and you have left me with a lump in my throat. Such a sweet and beautiful story of love and life.
I admire you for so many reasons. Your willingness to be so patient, to be adventurous, experience life slowly or quickly(whatever the circumstances dictate), for enjoying life to the fullest with friends and with new love and for just being YOU. You're just amazing. You have really had a lot going on and I hope it keeps you happy and fulfilled!
The Chef is a cutey and the 2 of you make a lovely looking couple. Enjoy each other!

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I have a big smile on my face for you. Wish you guys the best of luck!

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

shauna! having been ecstatically happy already once for this story hasn't stopped it a second time. i cannot wait until i can see you and give you a huge hug! congratulations again.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Wow Shauna - what an exciting time for you! You look absolutely radiant and in love for sure!

At 3:58 AM, Blogger Peggy said...

I'm so happy for you, and so glad that magic has touched your life!

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a happy and joyful post. Love is great, I am trully happy for you.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger s'kat said...

The first photo popped up mysteriously in my newsreader a couple of weeks ago. Now, finally, I have the story behind those electric eyes and wild hair, and what a beautiful one it is!

Love-y vibes are just spilling off the page, and I couldn't be happier for you two. Cheers!

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna,

I also met my the man of my dreams on line. Enjoy the journey. We just celebrated 3 1/4 years. The right one is always worth the wait.

I am gluten sensitive and am looking forward to your cookbook.


At 1:48 PM, Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Hands down, "You taste like truffles" is the MOST romantic line ever said by a male. Screw Mr. Darcy. Anyway, my current boyfriend and I met online; one of my best moments with him so far was in the kitchen. I made gnocci, he made eggplant parm, and we both did a lot of making out! :) ENJOY!

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Coming out of lurkdom to say congratulations on finding the man of your dreams! This post (and the last one) had me wiping tears from my eyes. Isn't love grand??

Enjoy each other, and the food you create together. I sooooo look forward to your first published book.

Oh, and btw, your flourless chocolate torte recipe is a staple around here now .... THANK YOU!

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Angela said...


You made me laugh right out loud! I have always loved your writing, but now I can really relate to the love you have for Danny! I always tell my single friends to just give up and when you do, love will find you! It worked for me and I guess it worked for you too!
Btw, congratulations on finding such a wonderful love... I hope to meet him someday when I visit his resturant!


At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that story and I wish that you were here so I could give you both a big hug and kiss!! Everyone should have someone so special!

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an absolutely wonderful and romantic love story, so well told. Congratulations to you both, you are so lucky to have found each other! This really caps all the wonderful stories I've been reading for the past year on your blog, Shawna.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! This post brought tears of joy to my eyes! So very, very touching, and I (this random internet fan) am so happy for the both of you!

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and yet again, the tale of you two has made me cry again. hope all is well. cooked a (now that i think of it) gluten free feast for father's day last would have enjoyed it.

im looking forward to seeing you sometime soon.


At 9:14 PM, Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

So, nu? Are you coming to the picnic with this Prince or what?

Congratulations on love and living and being and dancing and kissing and nibbling!

Chefs are fabulous, I agree, though a little biased!


At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever been happier for someone I don't know. There's something in the way you write that makes be feel connected to you, and I'm absolutely thrilled about this happy news. I wish you both much joy for a long, long time to come.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Colaptes auratus said...

I read this latest post a little while before sleep last night; shortly before rising this morning I dreamt of giddy lovers. Your words and joy must have followed me into dream time.

I couldn't be happier.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Helen said...

Dear Shauna,

What can I say that wasn't said by others? I am so happy for you and Danny! There is so much beauty, honesty, and joy in you. And now you get to share it all with someone you love.


At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You brought tears to my eyes,you write so beautifully.I understand what it s like to have the added awkwardness of being gluten free and dating,and how wonderful it is to meet someone who cares enough to not poison me,but at the same time doesn't make it a big deal....sometimes i'm glad i'm different,because i know he really loves me for me.....thank you for sharing

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Calli said...

Ah, Molly AND you! And me too! I love the internet. *grin*

I'm so happy for you. We're both very lucky to have guys that are so careful about not making us sick. *dance of joy*


At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story.
I googled the word Celiac after I was diagnosed in March and found your blog. I too am a foodie who refused to let Celiac kill my spirit..Thanks for helping!
I wish you all the happiness in the world.

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you, even though I have never met you personally. Congratulations! I wish you lots and lots of love and delicious, wonderful food!

At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a cool story!! Congratulations!!!!

My sister and I have been reading your blog since it was featured on C&Z. Your recipes for food and special moments are very addicting :)

2 Sisters From Tokyo

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang, that is a good story.
So happy indeed to be able to read it.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Freckle Face Girl said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful heartfelt story.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a lovely story! 2 foodies in love.. that's great. best of luck to you both~!

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Laura said...

celiac love stories!
gluten free tears!!
you are very kind to write about yourself and your friend.

on another note.
within the next month i will begin
a celiac/gluten free podcast.
may i contact you as a possible guest?


At 12:18 PM, Blogger Bengali Chick said...

I am sooo happy for you. I'm a faithful reader of your blog and this divinely touched my heart. I'm in my office with tears welling up -- thinking of my husband who makes me feel the way your Chef does. Incidentally, I too met my hubby quasi-on-line: I was the law review editor of his article, we call it, "love in the footnotes." It's so beautiful finding that person who just completes you. I knew he was the love of my life the first moments I laid eyes on him!

Wishing you all the happiness. Can't wait to buy your book.


At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was incredible. I hope one day to feel the way you do about someone - and not be lying to myself about it.

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...nice one ! xx
(from Alex)

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoo hoo!!!! I'm thrilled for you, Shauna.

I'm a big believer in meeting people on line, it worked out for me, though I never used a dating service.

What's next? You're on a roll... been to Vegas?

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What great news! That is so exciting, and I'm so happy for you!

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Pille said...

Congrats, Shauna - you sound and look so incredibly happy! Good for you:)

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is one of the sweetest things I've ever read. Seems meant to be, huh?

I've been in love with my Danny for almost 14 years! Dannys are amazing! :)

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a beautiful talent for writing - I look forward to looking for your book when it is published. I don't even know you and yet reading about your newfound love has tears streaming down my face. Keep writing!!

At 9:04 PM, Blogger MizD said...

Holy Crap, Shauna!

I'm woefully late catching this, but... wow! Wowie, wow wow!

(also, hee! Now I know where Chopper and I are going for wine next time we're in Seattle!)

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I could not stop reading. And with my MTV generation attention span that's saying a lot.

Now I need to explain to my husband why we'll be driving over the Cascades to eat at Dan's restaurant this weekend.

He's a softy too, so I'm sure he'll be up for it.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Ruth said...

My husband and I met in a very similar way and we've never been apart. I hope the same for you and much happiness in a foodie love affair that will never end! xoS
PS - Saw the Food Network promo... was so excited I was jumping up and down... my husband said "is that Shauna?" ... I talk about this blog constantly... :o)

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Amber said...

This post was wonderful. Normally when I read about romance I'm filled with jealous rage but, in truth, after this post I'm just extremely happy you found your match. I love your blogging style and wish that I could treat food with the love and care that you do on this site. (Years of dieting has damaged my relationship with all food and food like substances) Its all very clever and beautifully written.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Shadowspun said...

Shauna, I hope you realize how happy we all are for you. I hope Dan realizes how special a woman he has found and I know you realize the same thing.

It gives me hope that I will find the same someday.

Thank you for blogging, Shauna. I love reading this one. LOL> NOw if only I could actually cook like you (and the Chef).

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Elise said...

Ah Shauna, so that's what you've been up to, how absolutely wonderful! I'm deliciously happy for you and Danny.

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found your blog tonight. What a gift! I was diagnosed with celiac last year. I thought my days as a foodie were over and that finding that special guy would be like finding a needle in the haystack with all the extra challenges of a gluten free life. You have given me hope. Thank you for sharing your joy in such a visceral way.

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Randi said...

I too met my spouse online. I left California and moved to Ontario so we could legally marry and live together. It's been almost 5yrs. I'm so happy for you.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this website pervades spiritual love and I enjoyed the read to the point I recommended it to my best friends and posted the link to the usual board where I post.
I can't post the html tag here but if you want to see the post google for Graham Hancock message board then go to the Miscellaneous board in it and check my thread titled "Is there an alternative to bread" and my post titled "Inspiring website - the spiritual dimension of food made with love".
Thanks for sharing your talents with the world.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone. Thank you for being part of this. The Chef thanks you too!

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Skipper said...


My husband and I talked over the internet for months after first meeting. We dated a few times, got engaged, married the next year. He is made for me, and I for him. You understand. the funny thing is that I am his chef and he is my writer.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Shauna,
I found your site just a couple of weeks ago when Amazon contacted me about your new book. My husband has Celiac and we've ordered quite a few books in the past! I am totally and completely enamored with you and your stories! I am so happy for you that you found the love of your life. I found mine (Dan also!) almost 17 yrs. ago at a diner. We haven't been apart since--happily married for almost 16 yrs.! He found out he had Celiac 5 yrs. ago and it was pretty devastating. It seems to be easy enough to eat gluten free---but Definately not as fun or Tasty!! I've tried many gluten free recipes I've found (mostly baked goods) but have found very few to be any good. I am very excited to try some of your recipes and I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of your book!! My Dan & I plan on meeting you (and your Dan!) when you come to Los Angeles....we live in Orange County. Thanks for all you do...Thanks for sharing your uplifting stories.....and Thanks for giving this wife of a Celiac sufferer new hope that her husband can eat "Happy" again!
Bless you,
Barb K.

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK . . . I have tears in my eyes and it's not even noon. How perfectly wonderful.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Mim said...

Ok, I know this is an old post, but now I am in love with the Chef,and you, and you two.
Wonderful writing.
Thank you.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Jeri said...

All I can say is WOW!!!!

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Valadev said...

I also met my husband online! He is American, and I was living in Ireland with my two small sons. Now we have been married seven years, and have three daughters, our 10yo son was just diagnosed with celiac.
You look happy together!
Thanks for the great recipes and stories,
Cara in WV

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Ah Shauna...I realize this post is over 2 years old...and your life together with The Chef has blossomed into something even more beautiful than the words here can express. And with Little Bean soon to arrive, well, life is beautiful and crazy and lovely all at once.

Thank you for restoring my hope that love like this does exist, and can be found simply by living one's passion. Live, love, laugh!

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post made me cry and I am not the crying type. You had me when you wrote of him jumping up and down at his restaurant. Very beautiful and touching story.


At 1:33 PM, Blogger DrLou said...

So...I knew Dan in high school, and he was goofy then, too. Glad to hear he hasn't changed in that aspect and good to hear he turned out to be a really good guy (and lucky - I can tell by your story how much you love the guy).


At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Andrea said...

I'm 36 and still looking for a love like yours...this story gives me hope. Thank you!

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Kay said...

Wow!!! I have tears of joy in my eyes, reading this post. I'm so happy for both of you for finding each other. May your life be this joyous and more, always!

At 12:28 PM, Blogger wordworking said...

Wow, what a lovely story. I am a writer, my guy and I both love to cook, and I stumbled on your site while looking for a recipe for gluten-free oatmeal cookies. I confess I am not gluten intolerant, just trying to cut way back for possible health benefits. My brothers and several friends live in Seattle, and one of my bro's met his wife on that popular online dating site just as you did, the very last day before he cancelled his subscription! Anyway, thanks for a delightful and inspiring article and site. I'll be coming back for seconds!

At 12:34 PM, Blogger wordworking said...

PS Within 24 hours of meeting, my honey and I were at a romantic cafe sharing a goat-cheese-and-beet salad like we'd known each other forever. So your beautiful story resonated on several levels. Truly a delight to savor!

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Shannalee said...

I have never really looked through your site before--although I don't know why!--but after reading this story, I am your newest fan. What a sweet, sweet story--I'm in tears!--and what a wonderful relationship you two have. Thank you for sharing it and writing about it so well.

At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I might be in love with the Chef now!

At 11:29 AM, Blogger amanda favorite said...

I know this is an old post, but I recently stumbled upon your blog because I have come to realize I am gluten intolerant. I have been struggling with it for a year now- no diagnosis. In high school it was IBS, in college heart burn and indigestion were added to the mix.
Then suddenly in January I started getting dull, crampy pains in my side. I was test for Celiac- Negative. I had ultrasounds done- clean as a whistle.
I went back to eating gluten but continued to have digestive problems up the wazoo, still not diagnosed. So every day I struggle to decide how to go through life. It is obviously some sort of food issue. Is it dairy? Is it wheat, gluten? I don't know. Do I go to an allergist? Get tested again for celiac? Acupuncturist? I'm only 23 and broke, most of these are not options. But this blog makes me feel a lot better about the problem.

Your posts, and this one particularly, made me smile from ear to ear, I even cried a few tears. I'm so, so, so happy for you. So overjoyed at how much you love life.

I just wanted to say Thank You.

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Dating said...

Can't wait for the cookbook! I'm also celiac - and love to cook - your food truly inspires me!

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Emma said...

You are so lucky! I hope to be as lucky and fortunate as you one day. You made us all have hope (for the ones that needed it). Congrats to you.


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