To get ready for Valentine’s Day, we asked some husband-wife chef and restaurant management duos to share their romantic stories: how they met, what they like to cook to celebrate the holiday and whether their restaurants go all out in the name of love.
Written by Harrison Keevil. He and his wife, Jennifer Keevil, are the chefs and co-owners of Charlotsville, VA-based Brookville, a 60-seat restaurant serving New American cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients.
I met Jennifer while working as a line cook; Jennifer was my expeditor at the restaurant. Our relationship blossomed and I went on to open Brookville in July 2010 with Jennifer as co-owner and front-of-house manager. We got married in 2011, and on Dec 31, 2012 we welcomed our first child, a beautiful baby girl named Caroline, into the world. Valentine’s Day is ordinarily a really special holiday for the two of us, but this year it will be even sweeter as we get to celebrate with Caroline – the most wonderful thing in our lives right now.
We really like to go all out on Valentine’s Day and shower each other with love. The day before, I go to the local florist called Hedge. They are amazingly thoughtful when designing an arrangement, so I trust them to make a florist’s choice bouquet (but it has to have Day Lilies and a pastel theme – Jennifer’s favorites). I love to have the bouquet sitting on the table when Jennifer wakes up because I get to see the surprised look on her face. I also go to Albemarle Baking Company and buy a heart-shaped linzer tart, a heart-shaped chocolate-glazed chocolate brownie and a mini princess cake (which is a vanilla cake with marzipan fondant). My intent is for her to enjoy them throughout the day, but with my help, they are usually finished before noon! (This year I may have to double up!)
On the Sunday or Monday after Valentine’s Day, Jennifer and I dine at one of our favorite local spots (Clifton, Tavola or C&O) for a special and delicious dinner. As for a home-cooked celebratory meal, I suggest the oh-so-classic roast chicken – because every man and woman should know how to cook a great roast chicken for their loved ones. (Also, roast chicken leftovers can be turned into sandwiches to make for killer midnight snacks.)
At the restaurant, we love to create an atmosphere for people to nurture new or existing love. We design a seven-course menu based on aphrodisiacs (each course features an ingredient that will hopefully get you in the mood!) to inspire romance. We also like to serve a Kir Royale – because what is Valentine’s Day without a champagne cocktail?
Recipes Courtesy Harrison Keevil
1 whole chicken
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 a lemon
1 clove of garlic, cut in half
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Season the cavity of the chicken, liberally, with salt and pepper.
Stuff the thyme, rosemary, lemon and garlic into the cavity of the chicken.
Truss the chicken.
Season the skin of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Place chicken in oven for 1 hour. Check to see if a thermometer, when inserted into the thigh, reads 160 degrees F. If it does not read 160 degrees F, place the chicken in the oven and check every 10 minutes until ready. If the thermometer does read 160 degrees F, pull the chicken and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving it.
Serve the chicken with your favorite sides, family-style.
4 tablespoons currant-flavored cordial
1 bottle Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay
In four flutes, divide the currant-flavored cordial. Then fill each flute with the sparkling wine.
Want more ideas for your Valentine’s Day celebration? Get recipes and inspiration from Cooking Channel.
Check back tomorrow for another romantic restaurant story and recipe.
Click here to read more Love in the Kitchen stories from chefs and restaurant management couples.