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Valentine's Day Q&A with Executive Chef Eraj Jayawickreme

Fairmont Winnipeg

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With Valentine’s Day in Winnipeg just around the corner, we sat down with our Exec Chef Eraj Jayawickreme to pick his mind about the most romantic day of the year. Chef Eraj has created a special Aphrodisiac Menu for Valentine’s Day in the VG Restaurant. From oysters, to beef tenderloin topped with scallops, to a cheeky finish of edible chocolate dust and chocolate body paint, our team is here to ensure your night is unforgettable.

View the full Valentine’s Day menu here.

How do you usually spend Valentine’s Day?
I work every Valentine’s Day dinner service.  It is one of those special days that I like to ensure that I am in and giving my guest’s the best meal possible so they can celebrate their love for one another. It’s always a pleasure to visit the tables during the evening and meet with our guests and hear their stories.

What’s your favorite romantic dish to cook at home?
My favorite dish to make at home is a nice simple pasta with a great bottle or two of wine. Add some nice jazz and a quiet evening with my wife and you have a perfect evening.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory?
One of my favorite memories was a dinner service that I worked where I helped 5 different gentlemen each propose to their special someone. It took a lot of work but the reactions were priceless. This is why I love my job and the endless possibilities for me to turn moments into memories for our guests.

Do you have any tips for setting the right mood for dinner? 
One of the best tips I can give to someone making dinner for their loved one is to keep it simple and stick to what you are strong at. A lot of people overcomplicate things and get frustrated when things don’t work out. Remember your loved one will like whatever you make as long you do it with care and love. 

What’s an easy romantic dish our readers can make?
A beautiful beet salad with goat cheese and some avocado will be a great show stopper. Of course a chocolate dessert never hurt anybody either.

What is the inspiration behind your aphrodisiac menu?
When I made this menu I wanted it to highlight the many food items that are natural aphrodisiacs. I also wrote it so it would gently crescendo into the final course with harmony. This is a naughty day for most, so I made sure that our guests would be satiated but ready for some fun later on at home with my naughty take home treats. 

What sort of wines would you recommend with the aphrodisiac menu? 
When it comes to wines the world is your oyster. When selecting the wines we made sure that each wine compliments each dish with the subtle nuances that each bite gives you. We also wanted to make sure the wine did not over power the food but rather highlights all the flavors on the plate. 

In your opinion, is it more romantic to cook for someone or to cook with someone?
It is always sexier to cook with someone next you. It can truly become a sensual affair with all that close quarter cooking and the heat from the kitchen. Don’t forget feeding your partner taste tests can also make the fire burn a little brighter. And of course for those who prefer not to cook at all, our Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiac Menu is the perfect way to indulge your loved one.


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