Are you "that guy" planning something special for your Valentine? Chef Cory Vitiello from The Harbord Room in Toronto shares these recipes for a romantic menu that will impress your loved one.

Champagne Flute Cocktail


  • 1oz Beefeater gin
  • 1/2 oz Heering Cherry Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Galliano
  • 2 oz cranberry raspberry juice
  • 2 oz Champagne


With the exception of the sparkling wine, shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fine strain into a glass and top of with Champagne.

Garnish with mint stuffed raspberry.

Lobster and Wild Mushroom Risotto

Lobster Stock


  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 lb cleaned, uncooked lobster shells (from about three 1 3/4-lb lobsters), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs each of thyme, tarragon, parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups water


Heat the oil in a large, wide pot over high heat. Add the lobster shells, stirring from time to time until the shells are well browned for around five minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients except the water and cook for five minutes while stirring.

Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing firmly down on the solids to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Transfer back into the pot and keep warm until it is needed for the risotto. This step can also be done the day before to save time.

Lobster Risotto


  • 1 ­ 2 lb lobster, cooked, shelled and with meat cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups of lobster broth from above recipe or chicken broth if you're feeling lazy
  • 1 cup carnaroli rice or good quality Arborio rice
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, small dice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 pieces dried porcini mushroom (optional)
  • 1 cup sliced chanterelle mushroom
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrot
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 bunch picked arugula
  • Zest of 1 lemon


In a heavy-bottom, medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onions, carrot, celery, porcini and garlic. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the vegetables are completely soft and translucent. Add the rice and cook for five minutes, stirring constantly until the grains are slightly toasted. Pour in the white wine and cook out until all of the liquid has absorbed into the rice.

Using your hot lobster stock (or chicken broth), pour in just enough to cover the rice. Adjust your heat so the stock is just slightly boiling over the rice.

Stir the mixture slowly, adding more stock to maintain covering the rice. Using a wooden spoon, cover all areas of the pot while stirring, adding stock as needed for 12 minutes.

At this point, taste the rice; it should still be quite firm, but no more than seven minutes from being cooked.

Depending on how much liquid is left and the consistency you prefer (I like my risotto quite soupy), you'll need to add just the right amount of stock to finish the cooking. With this last addition of stock, also add in the chanterelle mushrooms. Cook the rice, gently stirring all the way until it's tender with a slight bite in the middle. This is the "al dente" stage that is desired. When you get to this point, you need to be ready to serve and eat the dish. Once finished, risotto can't wait for you. It needs to be served immediately!

Stir in the cheese, tarragon, chives, lemon zest, arugula and salt to your taste. If the rice is too stiff for your liking, simply add in more stock to loosen it up.

Chocolate Pot De Crème


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 ounces good quality, dark chocolate
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F (162 °C). Bring the cream and milk to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend.

Gradually whisk in the hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl.

Cool for 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.

Divide custard mixture among six, 3/4 cup ramekins. Cover each with foil and place cups in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of cups. Bake until the custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from the water. Remove foil.

Chill custards until cold. This can also be made the day before.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, shaved chocolate and berries if desired.