views

What to cook your Valentine

SHANE PEARSON, THE ARCH LONDON HOTEL
“I will be focusing on simple, easy-to-make dishes – I want to spend more time with my partner enjoying their company than in the kitchen. Consider sharing food – for example cook a Chateaubriand. Consider food that looks great, and seems special with minimum effort such as a selection of beautiful exotic fruits – put them on a skewer and serve with crushed berries in Chantilly cream and
chocolate sauce.”

BRUNO LOUBET, BISTROT BRUNO LOUBET
“My ideal Valentine’s dinner would be crab ravioli with chilli and citrus dressing for starters, followed by grilled fish and a simple Caesar salad and then marmalade and chocolate chip soufflé for dessert.”

TOM AIKENS, TOM AIKENS AND TOM’S KITCHEN
“I would start with baked scallops with lemon, thyme and garlic, followed by braised shoulder of lamb for two and finished with a chocolate mousse. Pure romance.”

MICHEL ROUX JR, LE GAVROCHE
“On the day where passion rules, you should eat with your fingers, so I would go for a seafood platter, with oysters, lobster and whelks, enjoyed with a bottle of delicious Gosset Rosé champagne. I would finish off with sweet wine Vin de Constance and Amedei chocolates from Tuscany – the most indulgent of treats. In the end, Valentine's Day is all about pleasing the lady in your life.”

STUART GILLIES, CHEF PATRON OF BOXWOOD CAFÉ AND GORDON RAMSAY PLANE FOOD
“We would start with baked oysters seasoned with a pinch of curry powder and a spoon of crème fraiche, followed by carpaccio of fillet of beef with a very good parmesan cheese, some lemon juice and a very good olive oil served with a salad of watercress and rocket then finally a hot chocolate fondue with marshmallows and biscotti that we can both pick at.”

TRISTAN WELCH, OF LAUNCESTON PLACE
“The starter would be sauteed scallops with aromatic herbs from the coastline. This gives off a lovely, aromatic fragrance and is a great way to start the evening. Of course, shellfish is also an aphrodisiac. For mains, we’ll have truffle risotto with fresh truffles on top – the aroma of the truffles is sure to get things spiced up. Meanwhile, dessert is liquid-centered chocolate fondue for two, a sexy end to a romantic evening.”

ADAM BYATT, TRINITY
“I will make my wife a simple dish of seared scallops with blood oranges and quince, it doesn't take too long so there is less time spent in the kitchen. For the main we will share a slow-cooked braised beef cottage pie, as I can make it beforehand. The pie comes in one pot so we just help ourselves. For dessert I tend to surprise my wife with something fresh and original. This year I will be serving poached English rhubarb with shortbread – the rhubarb is young and beautifully pink. To drink, I will open a bottle of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque champagne, which we will drink with the starter and the dessert. For the pie we'll have a gorgeous French red, Cote Rotie 2003, and for dessert, my home-made meringues made with rose water.”

ANTONIN BONNET, THE GREENHOUSE
“For me it’s not about spending lots of time in the kitchen, as you want to spend that time with your loved one, so I would make something simple. I would start with some just-cracked oysters, followed by langoustines with mayonnaise, then some roasted wild sea bass and fennel and chocolate ice cream for dessert.”

DOUGLAS SANTI, BABBO
“I would prepare crudo for starter – a selection of raw fish as it is the Italian tradition for special occasions. For mains, a fish stew made with the best fresh fish – lots of scallops and fresh shrimp. Shrimp is supposed to contain a chemical to make you happy – so this should put people in the mood. For dessert I would make a caprese, a soft Italian chocolate cake, as chocolate has to be one of the key ingredients for Valentine's. To accompany dinner, I love Franciacorta, a great sparkling wine from my home region of Lombardy in Italy.”

CHRIS GALVIN, GALVIN LA CHAPELLE, GALVIN BISTROT DELUXE AND GALVIN AT WINDOWS
“In my house, the Valentine’s Day meal would be smoked salmon and caviar with warm blinis & crème fraiche followed by roast turbot on a bed of steamed spinach, with steamed new potatoes drizzled with olive oil and organic lemons. We would skip dessert and head straight for a Moroccan mint tea with my wife’s absolute favourite – pistachio Turkish delight, macaroons and mini madeleines, all home-made by myself and straight from the oven.”

ROBIN GILLS, SAUTERELLE
“I usually like to prepare a large platter of fruits de mer, with lobsters, razor clams, mussels, scallops and her favourite crab claws. I cook everything in advance and set it on a large tray over ice with lots of lemon, Tabasco, shallot vinegar, and a simple aioli. For dessert I would do a light star anise crème brulee with some caramelised clementines (these are stunning at the moment). Truffles are apparently an aphrodisiac, are at their best now and not as expensive as they were a couple of weeks ago. The idea is that all the work is done in advance so we would just share the whole thing taking our time for two to three hours with a bottle or three of Chablis premiere cru.”