updated 10/25/2013 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/27/2013 AT 4:00 PM ET
Is Kris Jenner keeping up with a new paramour?
Rumors have swirled that the newly single Kardashian matriarch, who recently split with Bruce Jenner, is dating Bachelor star Ben Flajnik after the two were spotted together multiple times.
But the 30-year-old Flajnik, who is 27 years Jenner’s junior, is having none of that: He spoke to PEOPLE to set the record straight.
“Kris is a very, very dear friend of mine,” said Flajnik, who lunched with Jenner Friday at Barney’s in Beverly Hills. “We are not dating, we’re just working on a couple of projects together, so that’s why we’ve been seen a lot as of late.”
They certainly have been. Tongues first started wagging after Jenner posted an Instagram snapshot in late September that showed her with the winemaker and Kardashian mainstay Jonathan Cheban.
Flajnik – who tells PEOPLE, “I’m dating” – says Jenner has “taken me in to her family.”
Flajnik explains that he met Jenner when he appeared on her talk show over the summer.
“I extended a warm welcome up to the winery and shot an episode of the Kardashians with her and Jonathan (Cheban),” Flajnik explains, noting that when he and Jenner got to talking, ideas started flowing. “We started to conceptualize these new businesses. We’re very much prospectively working together. There’s some exciting stuff to come.”
“I’m blown away by the amount of hospitality and kindness she’s given me,” he says. “She’s introduced me to everyone to make me feel comfortable if we end up working together. Her family is amazing and wonderful.”
Jenner, for her part, has remained on friendly terms with her soon-to-be ex-husband: On Oct. 11, she posted an Instagram photo of herself with him and his two sons.