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How to ace this year's Valentine's Day

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Have you started thinking about Valentine’s Day yet? If you haven’t, it’s O.K. – you still have about 7 days. Whether you are single, seeing someone, dating, engaged or even married, we all know that Valentine’s Day is the one day out of the year to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them…besides their birthday, Christmas or Hanukkah, and Mother’s and Father’s Day.

If you were wondering how you are going to make this year extra special and different from the rest, worry no more! Don’t stress over making reservations at a crowded and super expensive restaurant, or planning the perfect romantic night out. You’re in for a real treat. Star Career Academy’s own Chef Victor McNulty is here to provide you with three menus that are sure to “wow” your Valentine, and will also give you the chance to show off your skills in the kitchen! Chef Victor has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, having served as Executive Chef and Pastry Chef, from everywhere from Florida to Massachusetts, and he has recently opened two restaurants in Westchester County – The Cornerstone Grill and The Yellow Tomato.

The first menu is elegant and decadent. For an appetizer, Chef Victor suggests fried oysters and caviar crème fraiche, pan-seared foie gras, with a fig balsamic reduction and a toasted baguette. For the main course, lamb chops wrapped in puff pastry with a side of goat cheese mashed potatoes, asparagus and a truffle demi-glace. The menu finishes with a desert of chocolate lava cake with a caramel sauce, and a side of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. If you are looking to set a romantic and high-class feel to your Valentine’s Day, then these dishes should definitely be on your menu.

For those of you who are sticking to your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy and live a more active life, Chef Victor has come up with a mouth-watering (and very healthy) menu. The meal would start with Tuna Carpaccio, with baby arugula, capers, extra virgin olive oil and cracked pepper. Next up would be an organic spinach salad with grated ricotta salata, multi-grain croutons, heirloom tomatoes, roasted garlic and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The main dish would be grilled, free-range chicken, roasted purple tomatoes, with a chanterelle and sweet pea broth. For dessert, consider a chocolate angel’s food cake with raspberry sorbet and a honey and Greek yogurt sauce.

The third menu would be a little bit more personal. For those who are in more serious relationships, this one’s for you. When coming up with your Valentine’s Day menu, make each course reflect a different aspect of your relationship. Maybe the appetizer can go back to your first date, while the main course would reflect the first meal you had as a married couple, and the dessert could be the first thing you baked together after moving in as a couple. Of course, if you have an excellent memory and attention to detail (or you Instagram every meal), then this third menu option will be very easy for you, and be jam-packed with feelings of love and romance.

So this year, consider cooking up a delicious meal for your Valentine. Check online or in your favorite cookbooks for recipes that will reflect Chef Victor’s suggested menus. If you are naturally talented when it comes to cooking and you enjoy it, you might want to consider a career in the culinary arts. Look into a hands-on and comprehensive program like the one at Star Career Academy if you are serious about pursuing a future in this industry.

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