I was on Dinner Date – you’ll be stunned how many times they film ‘hello’ moment & how contestants secretly cheat

IT'S the show that tasks hopeful singletons with cooking delicious three-course meals that will charm their guest and end with love on the menu. 

But over the years, fans of the ITVBe show Dinner Date, which first aired in 2010, have laughed it up as contestants burn their roasts, forget ingredients and make toe-curlingly awkward small talk. 

But that’s not the only drama that unfolds, according to former contestants Robbie McMahon and Stefan-Pierre Tomlin, who reveal the behind-the-scenes secrets.

While one of them bagged the prized second date, the other was left to cry his eyes out in a microwaveable ready meal.

From rejected menus to faked scenes and producers tricking singletons into believing they’ve won – they spill the beans to The Sun about what really goes down on the show.


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'Producers turned down my food'

Before appearing on Dinner Date, you would expect contestants endlessly practice making their meals to ensure it's perfect for the big day.

But that’s not the case, according to Robbie, 29, who was paired with TOWIE star Yazmin Oukhellou in a 2020 episode.

The former Geordie Shore star told The Sun: “I wanted to cook something else but my menu was rejected a few times because the meals had already been done.

“Anything with chicken or steak was taken already, so I thought I would cook spaghetti bolognese.

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Robbie McMahon was unlucky in love when he appeared on Dinner DateCredit: Rex

“I wanted to impress my date with a fancy meal but I couldn’t so I thought, ‘If she likes spag’ bol’, we’re going to get on.’”

Love Island star Stefan-Pierre, who appeared on Dinner Date in 2016, admits he had a bit of help from producers.

He told The Sun: “For me, I just told them my favourite dishes and they made it sound fancy.”

Not only that, the international model – who was named the most right-swiped man on Tinder in 2017 – claimed they “made the menu very aviation orientated” because he could fly planes.

How I got away with cheating 

Cheeky chappy Robbie, who’s set to appear on Celebrity MMA in June, tried to bend the rules twice on Dinner Date – once successfully and the other time his plan was foiled.

He said: “I got my mum to cook the bolognese because I wanted to make sure it tasted right and because she makes a banging spaghetti bolognese.

“That way, I could hide the pot in the fridge and switch it with one I cooked on camera. Then all I had to do was cook the spaghetti, which I couldn’t mess up.

“Also because I didn’t know how to make a tiramisu, which was the dessert on my menu, I bought one from the shop and hid it in the back of the fridge.”

However, Robbie was caught out by the cameraman after he asked where his ingredients were and forced him to make the treat from scratch. 

He recalled: “I told him I didn’t know how to make a tiramisu but he said that cooking the meals was the point of the show. 

“He gave me £20 and told me to get the ingredients from a local shop. I was having to Google the recipe while I was walking there because I didn’t have a clue.”

Used YouTube to help us cook

When Robbie was back, he was still none the wiser on how to construct a tiramisu, but was allowed to follow videos online and take multiple breaks.

He said: “I was laying the biscuit fingers out how a guy on YouTube did. I had to watch the steps, pause it and then we would film. It was a joke.

“In the end, I was quite proud of myself for making the tiramisu and while it looked terrible, it tasted really nice and she loved it.”

Similarly, Stefan-Pierre used YouTube to try to redeem part of his lemon cake that was completely raw and resorted to using Muller Corner.

‘Date forced to wait outside’

On TV, it seems the date appears at the hopeful singleton’s house at just the right time when the meal is almost finished.

However, Stefan-Pierre claimed that was not the case for him as his suitor was “hiding in the car outside for ages”. 

He said: “At some stage I saw the car but I couldn’t see my date. There was a producer with her all the time while I was in the kitchen preparing our food.”

True blind date

Not only that, both contestants claimed they “knew absolutely nothing” about who was coming to enjoy a meal with them apart front their name.

“It was completely blind," Stefan-Pierre, of the Home Refurbishment Company, added

but I was really impressed because the researchers nailed the type of girl I liked at that time.”

‘Countless retakes’

It was the same for Robbie and when he greeted Yazmin at his front door, they had to do multiple takes, which he claimed put him off.

He said: “When I saw her, she wasn’t your average girl. She was a 10 out of 10 and I just went, ‘phwoah’.

“They asked me to do it again without making a sound or showing any expression and got me to open the door multiple times.

“Then I had to hug her like 10 times from different angles and I hadn’t event had a chance to introduce myself or ask her name.”

Robbie didn’t realise his date was Yazmin from The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) and struggled to find conversation points due to knowing nothing about her.

He said: “I felt a bit stupid. It wasn’t how a date would normally go because I had noting to work with. It was pretty confusing.”

Both contestants said there were other times when they had to repeat recipe steps or things they said in case the cameraman missed them.

‘Tricked into thinking I'd won’

Robbie was determined he was going to get a second date with Yazmin after he got “a cheeky kiss on the cheek” before she left.

On the day of the results, he sat with a producer for “three hours chewing his ear off” and despite many attempts couldn’t get any information out of him.

Robbie said: “He was like, ‘Nah, I can’t tell you nothing’. I even tried to be sneaky by asking which area they were filming in on that day but didn’t have any luck.

“Obviously, nobody put anything on Instagram so I had no idea. I just didn’t want to be stuck at home with a ready meal.”

To ensure there’s no way of spotting their date through the front door or windows, contestants are forced to sit far away. 

For Robbie, this was on the stairs in his hallway and he claimed the producer played a couple of tricks on him to make him believe he had won.

He said: “To make it seem like she was outside they had a few people walk up to my door and so I genuinely thought I had it in the bag.

“There was a lot of noise outside too, I thought, ‘Is that a trolley wheeling a microwave meal to my door or Yazmin?’ It was the ready meal.”

Dating tips from Tinder’s most right-swiped man

STEFAN-Pierre Tomlin, was named Mr Tinder in 2017 and has appeared on a number of reality shows including Love Island, Celebs Go Dating, Dinner Date, Ex On The Beach and more. He shares his six dating tips with The Sun.


Similar interests – if you're looking for something long-term, try to find someone who shares the same hobbies.

See them before the date – always FaceTime or video call your date before the big day. Then you can tell if there is any chemistry and if they are a catfish too.

Ask interesting questions – use them to gauge their sense of humour, what you both like and what type of person they are.


Keep your past in the past – don't talk about your ex on a date, that's not cool!

Don't jump the gun – don't talk too much about the future, enjoy it and take it slow.

Don't hide – be yourself and be honest but also keep your wits about you and don't give it all away at once.

'Cautious' second date

Stefan-Pierre claimed the black-gloved hand that’s seen knocking on contestants’ doors is one of the producers and not the singleton who selects them for a date.

Despite being moved away from his front door, he said he spotted Sasha Goalby through the glass. They were then whisked away for cocktails at a bar.

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The model, who's releasing a new House music track this summer, said: “We didn’t have to pay a penny.

"We had a couple of bottles but were aware that we needed to be quite sharp because we were filming. So we were careful.”

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