It’s one thing to know your way around a restaurant menu in the presence of female company. It’s quite another to cook a delicious meal from scratch and pair it so perfectly with a libation that she starts to wonder if you moonlight as a sous chef-slash-bartender in your spare time.

I’m talking food-and-booze combos that are actually worth staying in for, like homemade sushi rolls served with crisp Japanese beer, or pulled pork pizza expertly complemented by a glass of pinot noir.

After 10 years of writing cookbooks, cooking in restaurants, competing on Top Chef, and judging Iron Chef, I’ve built up an arsenal of comfort-food recipes that pair perfectly with specific, equally satisfying beverages.

So, whether it’s date night or the morning after, surprise her with a meal you’ve paired up like a pro. (And don’t feel compelled to tell her where you learned how to do it—we can keep this article our little secret.)