TomCookery (187482)
Credit: Kysha Harris photos

Oh, Valentine’s Day, sometimes you stump us so. Is it cards, flowers and candy? Should we dine out, have a weekend getaway or lavish each other with heartfelt gifts? Only those two hearts can decide how to celebrate the day. However, for those couples that love cooking as much as they love eating, I just might have a plan for you.

Last year I was invited to a cooking class in Midtown to see how chef Tomica Burke teaches couples to burn it up in the kitchen together at her catering company, TomCookery. The spirited band of couples included mostly novice cooks who embraced the direction, camaraderie and the “welcome” rum punch.

The evening’s menu started with a Caribbean green salad with goat cheese, tamarind vinaigrette and crispy cassava chips. Four couples worked on our entrees and sides of a fiery and delicious chicken curry (which included blending the spices), North African spiced lamb chops, coconut saffron rice and roasted cauliflower with mint pistou. The last couple did their best at passion fruit pots de creme.

The couples came ready to cook and socialize with a bottle of their own libations. By the time we sat down to eat, the couples were fast friends. All of that measuring, chopping and whipping proved to be a delicious experience for all.

Chef Tom is at again Friday, Feb. 12, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Valentine’s Day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with her “Cook Eat Love” couples cooking class. The four-hour class includes a lively, hands-on cooking instruction, signature cocktail, candlelit dinner and recipes to take home. BYOB is encouraged.

The menu will feature delicata squash salad with maple dijon vinaigrette, roasted shrimp pasta with chili white wine sauce, filet mignon with garlic scotch bonnet butter, sides of spinach and turnip sautee, and mexican chocolate brownies a la mode for dessert! The price is $110 per person.

For those who might want to keep the festivities private, Chef Tom offers some of her “Party Pimping” tips:

  • Cook simple things such as cuts of meat, pasta and quick sauces.

  • Make something extra such as compound butter. It shows you took the extra step.

  • For sides, think outside of the box, such as replacing mashed potatoes with mashed parsnips.

  • Dessert should be shared only.

  • Don’t forget the decor to create mood. Candles, flowers and menus are only the beginning.

To make your reservation and for more information on TomCookery, please visit

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook For even more recipes, tips and food musings subscribe to her blog at Follow AmNewsFOOD @NYAmNewsFOOD.