Foodie dating site seeks to make culinary love matches between singles

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If the way to someone's heart is truly through their stomach, food-focused dating sites may be the answer for singles seeking potential love at first bite.

Sites like Singles with Food Allergies and Veggie Connection offer an online platform for those seeking romantic partners with similar diets or food restrictions.

Jeff Nimoy is the founder of SamePlate.com, which seeks to pair up prospective partners based on foods they do — or don't — like.

The 46-year-old follows the Paleo diet, centred on foods available to the caveman. Nimoy — who documents his eating habits on CookingCaveman.com — eschews potatoes, refined sugar, dairy, legumes and wheat or grains in favour of vegetables, fruits and "clean meats" like grass-fed beef, pasteurized chicken, wild caught fish and wild game.

While he's been on the Paleo diet for three years, he does admit to noshing on cheeseburgers and pizza on cheat nights.

Nimoy said he got the idea for SamePlate.com while answering a letter from one of his readers about whether he sticks to his regimen on dates and if he has an expectation that those he's with will eat in a similar fashion.

"As I started mulling it over, I then realized I'm not the only one with this problem. Anyone with a dietary restriction has this problem," said Nimoy, an Emmy-winning producer and writer and cousin to "Star Trek" icon Leonard Nimoy.

Nimoy admitted to some eyebrow-raising reactions when he mentions his unconventional diet to dates.

"It's actually a two-pronged approach. The first part is they all look at me and go: `Wow, you look really fit and really healthy, how do you do it?' And then when I tell them how I do it, they say: `Wow, you sound really crazy and I want to get away from you," he said with a laugh during an interview from Los Angeles.

"People just don't get it, but I've never been healthier, and my entire health is transformed because of this diet; and I'm going to stay on this diet for the rest of my life."

Nimoy said people drawn to SamePlate.com aren't just seeking singles with shared eating habits but are open-minded to meeting others with differing culinary tastes or dietary restrictions.

"Someone with a gluten allergy, let's say they want to be with someone who's not necessarily on a gluten-free diet but is willing to make those sacrifices for them."

But Nimoy said the majority of people on the site are "just plain old foodies" looking for fellow enthusiasts to share a meal with, be it a local eatery or diving into the latest culinary trend.

Nimoy said users are able to cross-reference through two different search functions: diet — which includes food allergies and programs like Weight Watchers or Atkins — as well as searching through foodie trends.

The free, U.S.-based site has Canadian members and Nimoy said it has been overwhelmingly popular with women, with the ratio swelling from 3 to 1 versus men since SamePlate.com's launch last year to 6 to 1.

"My theory is where the women are, the men will eventually follow."

While the ultimate aim would be to help forge a love match among members, Nimoy said the selling point is "share a meal, no big deal" in a bid to take the pressures of dating out of the equation.

"All you have to do is start a conversation of food, and if romance works out, fantastic. But in the meantime, you've gotta eat," he said.

"So people are going to share a meal, and hopefully they come together based on their shared food experiences, food likes and dislikes. But hopefully, romance blooms from that."

Geographic location: Los Angeles, U.S.

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