Everyone knows the old cliché: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, with a brief scenic detour into his pants.” Well, that’s how most honest men would describe the path to a fulfilling relationship, anyway. Whatever the circuitous route of love may be, women who cook well certainly have an advantage over those ladies who haven’t pursued an epicurean education.

Watching a woman cook a gourmet meal is impressive to most men because, as most Carl’s Jr. ads can tell you, men normally don’t have a single freaking clue how to even cook rice without scorching the damn pot (we’re looking at you, former college roommates). Decry gender stereotypes all you like; there’s something about watching a beautiful woman cooking a great meal (preferably in only an apron) that can simply devastate a man.

Here’s a few of the hottest chefs that you’ve probably already seen on the Food Network when your girlfriend needs something to watch during the commercials of whatever Bravo reality show is running at the moment. Prepare for a visual feast.

Padma Lakshmi

Speaking of gorgeous chefs in conjunction with Carl’s Jr., Ms. Laksmi (the wonderful cover chick for this article) is a renowned Indian cook and even-more internationally renowned gorgeous babe. If you haven’t seen her scintillating and scandalous “hot chick eating a burger” advert on TV, you may not own a television and/or be Amish. Amazingly, Padma claims their Western Cheeseburger brought her away from her lifelong vegetarianism. Her cookbooks, Easy Exotic and Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, have garnered international awards and have spawned innumerable vague sexual references from repressed, juvenile blog writers (jokes omitted). She was once married to famed Indian writer Salman Rushdie. Thank you, Mr. Rushdie, for giving writers everywhere (even lowly, despicable hot-babe-blog writers) the hope of being with a woman as gorgeous and talented as Padma.

Giada DeLaurentiis

Giada is a lady who loves her pasta, and her expertise with that conveniently rhyming foodstuff had made her an international celebrity. Her cookbooks are all number one bestsellers, and she still has one of the most popular cooking shows on the Food Network. By the dint of her own hard culinary work, she has also hosted a show about getaways to exotic locales and continues to be featured on the Today Show in her own segment on cuisine and culture. Needless to say, this has made her a shining example (and source of extreme jealousy) for aspiring foodie girls everywhere.

Cat Cora

She may not be as extravagantly beautiful as a Padma, but Cat is a sultry Southern belle who knows how to kick ass in the kitchen. In the fast-paced, Japanese-imported Iron Chef show on Food Network, Cora takes high honors as the very first female Iron Chefs to ever bow to the whacky Chariman. Her expertise is in Southern cuisine (being a native of Mississippi), but she has the expertise to take any type of food and make it spicy and delicious. It makes sense, since she’s the perfect blend of a sweet, down-home girl and a fierce cooking competitor. Who wouldn’t want a heaping helping of her Southern comfort?

Aida Mollenkamp

Aida is an extremely knowledgeable and likeable cook that seems to exude a welcoming, supportive view for teaching cooking to others. That’s probably why she hosts a show called Ask Aida on the Food Network and is a regular correspondent for the Bay Area-based CHOW.com. She actually studied hotel management in college and ended up consulting/cooking for restaurants in Florence, Italy and Paris, France. So, basically, her life has sucked. She also consulted during the test phases of California Pizza Kitchen, so next time you dig into a BBQ Chicken Pizza, you can thank the lovely and talented Aida for the taste explosion in your mouth.

Katie Lee Joel

Every piano man needs a gorgeous lady to sing on top of his piano, but Billie Joel opted out of a singer and chose a cook instead. She graduated from the lovely Miami University of Ohio (confusing? a little) and worked for a veritable smorgasbord of gourmet kitchens, food, and wine stores. She also hosted the first season of Top Chef on the Bravo network. Forgive the terrible pun, but Katie Lee recently placed herself back on the menu after divorcing her Piano Man husband in the wake of very public and incendiary rumors of an affair with an Israeli fashion magnate

Ingrid Hoffman

People love the spiciness of Mexican/Latin cuisine, and Ingrid’s personality’s as fiery as her fundido sauce on her Food Network show, Simply Delicioso. Born in Colombia and trained to cook by her Cordon Bleu-certified mother in far-flung locales, Ingrid was destined for great things from an early age. She starred in over 16 telenovelas before the age of 20–and you have to be downright hermosa to be featured on the Spanish language TV shows. After moving to Miami, the swanky celebrity set of South Beach flocked to her restaurant Rocca, the first restaurant in Miami to serve food cooked by tabletop grills heated by lava rocks. Even now, in her mid-40′s, Ms. Hoffman manages to stay hotter than a habanero pepper.

Rachael Ray

Ms. Ray knows how to treat guys right: her expertise is simple, short recipes that guys (and girls) can make that taste great without exhausting their beer money. She also happens to be a bit of a babe with a raucous personality that almost immediately makes her hotter for seeming like she can fit in with the guys. Of all the chefs on this list with a Food Network show, she’d probably be the one most likely to do a keg stand; for that, we love her oh so much more.