Consider John Keats’ words about a nectarine: “It went down soft, pulpy, slushy, oozy—all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat.” Now consider what D.H. Lawrence said about a fig: “Glittering, rosy, moist, honied and heavy-petalled. It explodes, and you see through the fissure the scarlet.”

Yep, there’s no denying it: food and sex go hand in hand. Which means if you want to get a woman in the mood for some fun in the sack, you’d be wise to use food as your wingman. Just be careful: dish out the wrong meal, and you’ll send your lady hunting for her sweatpants… or right out the door. But if you can excite her palate and tickle her senses, she’ll be ripe for the next phase of pleasure. (Again and again and again.) And I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.

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I know this to be a fact: the best way to a girl’s heart—and into her pants—is through her stomach.

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Why should you trust me? Um, couple reasons. One, I know food. I studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, where I learned French cuisine with modern twists. Then, I was the Hell’s Kitchen Season 7 winner at age 24, chosen by Gordon Ramsay himself. And I just bought a four-acre farm, where I hunt wild boar and grow heirloom tomatoes.

Secondly, I know what makes a girl want to have sex with a guy. I’ve been on lots of dates, cooked for many men and had many men cook for me. I know what turns a girl on and what doesn’t. And I know this to be a fact: the best way to a girl’s heart (and into her pants) is through her stomach.

So without further ado, here are my Do’s and Don’ts for preparing the perfect meal to get your girl in the right frame of mind for sex. Follow these rules, and you should be getting lucky any minute now. And just to make sure you seal the deal, I’ve included a can’t-miss recipe at the end.

When in doubt, remember this comes from one of our 15 Hottest Food Personalities.

Aphrodisiac Food Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Set the mood. Don’t light candles because that could make her too aware of your expectations. A few well-placed Glade plug-ins will do the trick. (Yes, really!) As for music, nobody wants to hear a pin drop. Create a Pandora station or a playlist with classics like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin mixed with modern rock like Kings of Leon.

Don’t: Go for phallic foods just for the sake of it. Perfect example: asparagus. I understand the suggestive shapes. You think having a spear in her mouth is sexy. It’s not, and asparagus makes you smell different. It also makes you sweat. Not worth it.

Don’t: Prepare foods that crumble. There’s nothing sexy about needing a big napkin or having crumbs stuck to your lips.

Do: Cook together. Share food stories and taste things in the process of cooking. But senses should go far beyond taste. Entice her with smells, textures and heat. Let her lick batter off your fingers and vice versa.

Do: Pair the experience with wine. It’s hard to go wrong with pinot noirs. Not only do they complement most foods, they’re known for a silky sensuality, subtle earthiness and soft, tender tannins. Toward the end of the meal, you could also introduce a port or sherry. Better yet, surprise her with something more exotic, like a white port.

Hey, you’ve gotta practice what you preach.

Don’t: Overwhelm her. Your house is not a German butcher shop. Do not serve her a hunk of steak that will make her bloated and feel bad when she can’t finish it. Same goes for heavy starches and piled-high pasta dishes.

Do: Make a lot of small plates with finger foods. Less is more. Tiny portions of food on little cute dishes is the way to go. Save the big hulking party plates for the football game with your buddies.

Do: Satisfy her sweet tooth. In fact, here’s a good three-point plan: figs and honey, then dried plums stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon, then a cheese plate with quince jam. No stinky cheeses—a manchego, brie and smoked gouda are all safe bets.

And if you want to make a killer figs and honey, here’s a great recipe. Believe me, she’ll be all over you if you whip this up—and it somewhat resembles that photo at the top.

Grilled Figs and Spiced Honey



Ingredients:

2 ripe figs, quartered

1 tsp unsalted butter melted

Sea salt, to taste

½ cup wildflower honey

1 black cardamom pod

1 star anise pod

½ stick cinnamon

1 inch piece orange zest

4 black peppercorns

½ inch slice habanero pepper

Method:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the honey on low heat with all of the spices and pepper.

2. Allow the honey to come to a slight simmer for one minute before removing it from the flame. The longer the spices are allowed to steep, the stronger the spice will become. I like to leave mine for at least 10 minutes before I strain out the spices.

3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. To prepare the figs, brush the outside with melted butter and set the whole fig on the grill.

4. Turn the fig after approximately one minute or until lightly caramelized to grill the other side.

5. Remove the figs from the heat, cut into quarters and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

6. Drizzle the honey over the figs or dip the figs in the warmed honey.

You getting lucky yet? Trust me, you will.

Holli Ugalde is a chef, baker, photographer and mother. You can follow her on Twitter here.