Valentine’s Day has evolved over the years and isn’t just about a couple doing dinner any longer.
Love and togetherness can be celebrated anywhere and in many ways: by a group of friends, twos, or just solo — and some rebels even throw anti-Valentine’s Day parties. But for that ever-popular, traditional experience, Chef Jonathan (Scinto) shares his tips for setting up the perfect romantic table a deux for V-Day or any special occasion.
“I do match it up to the client’s taste and really try to keep it as classic and refined as possible, with a little chic thrown in,” he says.
That said, for Ooh la la table settings and room décor that spark romance, DIY creative and a bit over the top works great as well. (Check out some inspirations – à la Etsy – below.)
“I use special plates that are based on the menu to set it all up like it’s a canvas,” Scinto explains. “So, let’s say it’s a seafood dish like oysters Prosecco; I’m using my really good White One idea: china plates that have a texture to them. It really sets off the color of the oyster shells.
So, be mindful of what your serving first, then use that as your paint and the plate as the canvas.”
And finish the meal with decadent desserts and chocolate.
Another element to keep in mind is that all-important mood lighting. Scinto suggests: Dim the lights and light beautiful candles for the table.
“If your lights don’t dim, then close them and use stem candles to give that glitter in the sky ambiance,” he says.
Oh, and don’t forget to put on some sexy music. It can set the tone for that entire romantic evening. Barry White, anyone?
“If it’s an Italian-inspired menu, I’m playing some classic Italian opera; or, if the menu is a fusion, I’m playing like, Billy Joel’s ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,’” says Scinto. “It really depends on the food, though, because I play music based on the menu.”
He adds: “For my clients, every dinner experience is custom tailored to their palates; no menu is ever the same because they’re paying for their own individual culinary adventure. Maybe it’s about a romantic vacation; I would make the table setting theme resemble that experience, from the tablecloth to the silverware.”
Chef Jonathan (Scinto), who was nominated in the 2019 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest, can be reached at 516-428-6968, on Instagram and Facebook via @chefjonathans
V-Day inspirations for décor, table settings and gifts (à la Etsy):
Themed pillows; table runners/toppers and placemats, napkins (red or themed); wreaths and banners, heart doilies for hanging; garland; centerpieces with red, pink, white faux or real flowers; foliage; and hearts and LED lights.
Candle rings made with bows and lace over wire; red tableware and decorated wine glasses (vintage = romantic); place cards, napkin holders.
Clear vases or bowls with red floating candles; heart soaps; a bowl with red, pink painted pine cones.
A Taste of Instagram: Sea to Steak
Chef Jonathan suggests this sumptuous four-course dinner with a cocktail
Cocktail: Strawberry Mint Chocolate Martini
First Course: Asian-Infused Oysters Prosecco Mignonette
Second Course: Seared Scallops and Mango Puree
Entree: Grilled Prime Filet Mignon, Purple and Yukon Potatoes with Spicy Cole Slaw
Dessert: Black and White Chocolate Mousse Cookie