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LABOUR OF LOVE: How to win hearts in the kitchen this Valentine's Day

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

LABOUR OF LOVE: How to win hearts in the kitchen this Valentine's Day

TAFE NSW Commercial Cookery teacher David O’Dea says with the right preparation and planning, you can treat your loved one to a restaurant quality meal at home this Valentine’s Day.

11 February, 2020

It’s the one table that doesn’t require a booking on Valentine’s Day and with a dash of planning, it can host a dinner every bit as romantic – and delicious – as a fancy restaurant.

TAFE NSW Commercial Cookery Teacher David O’Dea has revealed some insider secrets to preparing a restaurant quality meal at home while still only spending less than 30 minutes in the kitchen on Valentine’s Day.

The secret ingredient? Preparation.

“Food is a great way to connect with your partner and express your love, but that’s hard to do if you’re slaving over the stove all night,” Mr O’Dea said.

“It’s all about prior preparation and that will allow you to spend Valentine’s night with your loved one.”

Mr O'Dea, a 30-year veteran of the industry and co-author of the widely-used Cookery for the Hospitality Industry textbook, said preparing a romantic meal extended far beyond pots and pans.

“It shows that you’re prepared to go outside your comfort to create something special that’s a reflection of you,” he said.

Mr O’Dea suggested a main dish of beef Wellington and dessert of crème brulee (see recipes below), saying the dishes could be prepared largely in advance and still provide a “wow factor”.

“The ingredients and method are both pretty basic and if done properly, it can look amazing,” he said.

If you’d like to turn your passion into a career or just want to brush up on your skills around the kitchen, TAFE NSW offers a range of commercial cooking and baking courses.

To find out more, phone 13 16 01 or visit