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Recette’s Jesse Schenker: Serving Up Gourmet Romance

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 Jesse Schenker, Chef and Owner of NYC’s Recette. His wife Lindsay Schenker is the restaurant’s Director of Operations. Together they run this urban, contemporary American restaurant where progressive techniques are married with traditional flavors.

Lindsay and I met at Coral Springs Middle School in South Florida when we were in 8th grade. We were in different classes but had a mutual family friend; I didn’t know it at the time, but she had a pretty big crush on me. When we were in 9th grade, I became very interested in her, but things didn’t quite work out. The same thing happened again in 10th grade – and I didn’t hear from her for 10 years. I always thought about her as the one that got away.

In May of 2008, Lindsay sent me a MySpace message after she read an article about Recette Private Dinning. I responded immediately and, well, the rest is history. A few months later , she moved from San Francisco to New York and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

We’re really busy at Recette for Valentine’s Day. We will be serving a 5-course tasting menu featuring oysters, caviar and champagne, ending with a decadent chocolate dessert, and accompanied by John Coltrane playing throughout the restaurant. One year, we had a man propose during the meal. The woman he was with started screaming out of excitement. Everyone in the restaurant was buzzing, especially when he got down on one knee! It was very cute.

As for my valentine, Lindsay, I will make her favorite dish for her after service: fresh cut spaghetti with sweet shrimp, stewed tomato, chili and sea urchin (recipe below), paired with a Burgundy to make her extra happy. She doesn’t cook, but I love her homemade cards every year.

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