5 Valentine recipes from 5 top chefs

5 Valentine recipes from 5 top chefs

Three major perks to this: you look like you can cook, you prove how much you care, you save a pan-load of money

Nothing proves your love like a well-cooked meal. And nothing sabotages the moment like a badly cooked one.

We searched the planet for the most positively passionate chefs, and found five for whom food isn't just for eating, it's for loving.

So wherever you are and whatever your culinary skills, you can score some passion points with these simple but sumptous Valentine recipes. 

 

1. Shannon Bennett, Melbourne:
Coq au vin in sweet wine

5 Valentine recipes from 5 top chefsMelts first on your eyes, then in your mouth.

Shannon Bennett of Vue de Monde in Melbourne treasures the meal he enjoyed with his wife at Bras, one of the world’s top restaurants, which is tucked away in a remote corner of France.

“They grow their own produce in the gardens and forage herbs from the surrounding hillside," he says. "It was a memorable and romantic night just before our first child was born.”

Shannon loves the fact that food is central to Valentine's Day. “Anything which gives people a reason to enjoy great food and wine is a good thing in my book.”

He recommends sashimi for a starter -- best quality kingfish thinly sliced and lightly marinated in a dressing of shallots, garlic, yuzu juice, olive oil and oyster sauce, seasoned before serving.

He would follow up with an unusual take on a famous classic chicken dish.

Coq au vin in sweet wine

600g whole chicken
375g sweet white wine
Baby onions
Baby carrots
Baby beets
Garlic and tarragon
2tbsp butter
1/2 litre sparkling mineral water

Simply place chicken in a pot with wine, surround with the baby vegetables and herbs, add the butter and water. Cook in a preheated oven at 180 C for two and a half hours.

Vue de Monde, Level 55 Rialto Building, 525 Collins St., Melbourne, Australia; +61 3 9691 3888; www.vuedemonde.com.au


2. Reuben Riffel, Cape Town: 
Strawberry salad with lemongrass vinaigrette

delicious Valentine recipes Make something this pretty and wait for the "ooh aah!"

For South Africa’s Reuben Riffel, chef at Reuben's, there’s nothing more romantic than a glass of bubbly and a sunset view of Table Mountain with his beloved: “I’ve got over Valentine's Day being too commercial and now think it should be celebrated several times a year.”

Reuben favours oysters, strawberries and chocolate for a romantic meal. “All foods designed to be shared and enjoyed by lovers,” he says.

Here’s his favorite Valentine’s dessert, which he would precede with a simple dish of warm oysters dressed with horseradish-flavored crème fraîche:

Strawberry salad with lemongrass vinaigrette

1/2 lemongrass stalk
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp cream
2 cups strawberries
2 tsp fresh fennel leaves
Rose petals
1/2 tsp yuzu powder

Chop and crush lemongrass into paste, whisk in olive oil, lemon juice, sugar and cream. Drizzle over quartered strawberries mixed with fennel leaves. Decorate with rose petals and dust with yuzu powder.

Reuben’s, One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, South Africa; +27 021 431 5111; www.oneandonlycapetown.com


3. Damon Wise, New York: 
Poached oysters with shaved celery root and apple

5 Valentine recipes You'll need these carbs for the long night of passion that awaits.

Damon Wise, chef at New York's famed Monkey Bar, hates Valentine's Day: “It’s such a forced holiday,” he says. But he is a sucker for romance.

He nearly cried, he admits, when he came home late one Christmas Eve after slaving over a hot stove to find his girlfriend had made him a beautiful butternut and black truffle galette. “It was so delicious, and it really hit home that this was the right lady for me,” he says.

Damon knows what puts diners in the mood for love at the legendary Monkey Bar. “Caviar, sea urchins, truffles, oysters and chocolate," he says. "They are so sexy and luxurious; they do something to the brain that makes not just you feel good, but also the person you’re with.”

He recommends this dish for anyone who can’t make it to his Manhattan restaurant on Valentine's Day:

Poached oysters with shaved celery root and apple

4 medium oysters, shucked with liquor reserved
1 knob butter
1 knob of celery root (celeriac), cut in fine julienne strips
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
salt and pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons of water with the oyster liquor, and gradually add butter over low heat. Add celeriac and cook gently till tender. Add shucked oysters and poach until warmed through, finish with the diced apple and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two small bowls and serve immediately.

The Monkey Bar, Hotel Elysée, 60 E. 54th St., New York, United States; +1 212 308 2950; www.monkeybarnewyork.com


4. Eric Fréchon, Paris: 
Grapefruit and lychees in Champagne

romantic Valentine recipes Looking impressive can be this easy.

Paris chef Eric Fréchon of Epicure also dislikes Valentine's Day “because I am in love all year, not waiting for a special occasion.”

He tempts diners at Epicure with three-Michelin-star fare like lobster, Champagne and desserts sprinkled with rose petals: “The ultimate romantic ingredient,” he says.

Here is Eric’s recipe for a romantic dinner at home:

Grapefruit and lychees in Champagne

2 pink grapefruit
10 lychees
30g sugar
1/2 bottle pink Champagne
Rose petals

Mix peeled and segmented grapefruit with peeled lychees, mix in sugar, lace with Champagne and sprinkle with rose petals.

Epicure, Hotel Le Bristol, 112 rue du Faubourg, St. Honoré, Paris, France; +33 1 5343 4340; www.lebristolparis.com


5. Janice Wong, Singapore: 
Wild strawberry panna cotta

Valentine recipesStrawberry panna cotta: wild by name, and wild by nature.

Janice Wong of Singapore’s 2am Dessert Bar still treasures the memory of a special eight-course dinner she made for her beloved: “Each course featured a favorite ingredient, and was designed to evoke a nostalgic memory.”

For her, the food of love is rich and sweet. “Dark chocolate, caramel and vanilla, shared as a hot drink, a decadent cake, or frozen,” she says.

While many of Janice's concoctions use liquid nitrogen and other molecular ingredients, she recommends this simple frozen wild strawberry dessert for a home Valentine treat:

Wild strawberry panna cotta

3.75ml cream
1.25ml milk
2.5g sugar
4.2g wild strawberry (fraises des bois) purée
0.2g gelatin sheets
0.2g beetroot juice

Soak the gelatin into cold water, squeeze dry. Combine the cream, milk and sugar into a pot. Cook over low heat until all sugar dissolves.

Dissolve the gelatin into the above mixture. Add wild strawberry purée and beetroot juice and sieve. Pour into molds, let set in the refrigerator. Freeze and unmold.

2am Dessert Bar, 21a Lorong Liput, Holland Village, Singapore; +65 6291 9727; 2amdessertbar.com

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