Romantic Dinners for Two: Create a Romantic Experience,Easy step by step instructions on how to Wine

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Romp Thru Concepts Inc.

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Hello and Thank-you Revolutionizing Romance is Chef Robert and Barb Catherine's motto. Their cookbook Romantic Dinners For Two is about creating romantic experiences. What is included in the book is a DVD that shows you easy step by step instruction on how to create each recipe. Chef Robert shows you how easy it can be to prepare three four coarse dinners in the comfort of your own home. What is also on the DVD is a segment where Barb shows you how to set up three romantic scenarios, a dining room,fireplace and bedroom. The book and DVD compliment each other, both are set up the same so the user can follow along with the book and DVD at their pace. What is also included in the book is a tear-out invitation to be used if the user wants to surprise their love and plan for the up coming evening. To plan for the evening we have also included a tear-out seven day planner and grocery list to help the user prepare for their evening. Through-out the book there are mood enhancers to give you ideas on what you might want to do. Also we added conversation igniters to help if needed to keep the dinner conversation interesting.


Chef Robert & Barb Catherine
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Romp Thru Concepts Inc.
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Romp Thru Concepts Inc.
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Romp Thru Concepts Inc.
Romp Thru Concepts Inc.
Romantic Dinners for Two: Create a Romantic Experience,Easy step by step instructions on how to Wine,Dine and Seduce your lover.Perfect for Valentines (Book & DVD)
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I recently received "Chef Robért Presents Romantic Dinners for Two."  Being close to Valentine's Day I thought this would be a fun little cookbook to review.  Heck, it might even help me score some points with my wife.  I was especially intrigued as it came with an instructional DVD to help amateur culinarians along as they attempted to create a nice, romantic dinner.

I usually avoid all books promising to help my romantic life as I find them to be rather cheesy and full of clichés but I must have been caught up in a weak moment.  I should have listened to my inner voice.  While I think the intentions of this book are noble, I have found that, unfortunately, it falls short of so much of what it was trying to be.  This book is not without merit though.  There are a number of recipes that are good and there are a few other things this book offers that really caught my eye.

Starting out on a positive note, I really like the way this book is set up.  The book is divided into three sections, each section a package to create its own little "rendezvous."  The author suggests that, over the course of a few weeks, one partner creates Rendezvous One, the other partner creates Rendezvous Two, and together they create Rendezvous Three.  I really love the concept of sharing the responsibilities and ending with the couple creating something together.  It is a wonderful lesson in how the mundane things of life can be made special each and every time they are done.

Each Rendezvous revolves around a four course dinner: appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert.  It is here, with the recipes, that the book starts to fall apart.  First, I have to question some of the choices that were made in selecting the menu items.  All of the salads seem to contain a rather significant amount of red and/or green onion as do a number of other courses.  While I love onions, and other strongly flavored foods, I don't know that I would be using liberal amounts of such items when creating a "romantic" cookbook as some people may not find onion breath much of a turn on. 

My other big concern with this cookbook is the confusing way in which the recipes are written.  Chef Robért is so concerned with making these recipes easy for the beginning cook he ends up giving too much information and instead confuses things.  On the first page of a recipe he gives the reader all the ingredients and their measurements needed for each step.  Then on the next page he walks you through each step in preparing the item again giving you all the items and measurements.  In some of the more complicated recipes you find yourself flipping back and forth, double checking ingredient amounts.  The process became rather confusing for me and I would have much rather the recipes be in standard recipe format.  This format has been around for a long time, and with reason.  It works and works well.  Here, with the way things are written,  I constantly have to check and recheck things. 

As for the recipes themselves, I was not thrilled with a number of them.  First off, all of the vinaigrettes for his salads are way too acidic.  I was trained to make a vinaigrette with 1 part vinegar (or other acid) to 2, 3, or even 4 parts oil.  Here Chef Robért flips that ratio creating most of his dressing with 1 part oil to 2 parts vinegar.  I was also not thrilled with the addition of cream cheese to his chocolate mousse.  Sure it helps it hold up better so it can be made a day or two ahead, but it just made the mousse seem rather heavy and the excess fat created a mouth feel that I didn't care for in the mousse.  I will say though that Chef Robért does create a wonderful Seven Day Planner for each menu and does provide a comprehensive Grocery and Equipment List so that no one should be caught without the right amount of ingredients or without the proper equipment to get the job done.

My other big issue with this book is Chef Robért's attempts at creating a "romantic" atmosphere.  I'm sorry but much of it comes across as cheesy and clichéd.  First off are the "Conversation Ignitors."  Each Rendezvous comes with a page of these that you can either directly ask your partner or cut out of the book, fold up, and put in a bowl to be picked out and answered one by one, during dinner.  While some of these might be okay for a new couple just starting out, the majority of them seem rather inane for a couple that is trying to rekindle some of that lost romance.  I also have to take issue with many of his "Mood Enhancers."  These are little tips, littered throughout the book, to help you get yourself or your significant other into the mood of things.  These range from "Serve Wine or an alcoholic beverage with your meal," "Buy something sexy to wear for yourself," "Draw a bubble bath for your significant other either before or after dinner," or "write and leave a love note in your partner's car."  While there is nothing wrong with any of these suggestions, or any of the numerous others, they are all pretty clichéd and passé.  It shouldn't be too hard to come up with some new ideas to present to the reader, ideas that go beyond the norm and forsake the obvious. 

In all fairness, I realize that I am a rather cynical, jaded person so I felt that I really needed a second opinion about this book before I wrote my review.  Who better to do that then my wife?  She's a romantic at heart.  There hasn't been a romantic comedy filmed in the last twenty years she hasn't seen, and she is always telling me exactly how unromantic I am.  She'd be perfect for the task of telling me to lighten up a bit.  Unfortunately, she pretty much agrees with my sentiments.  She felt that most of the romantic suggestions offered no real insight or anything new, found many of the suggestions rather passé and agreed that the way the recipes were written tended to confuse more than enlighten.

And what of the DVD that accompanies the book?  It is a good instructional guide for someone very new to cooking.  Chef Robért does a good job in showing the viewer each and every step, but like so much in this book his achievements fall short of his intentions.  In today's Food TV age viewers expect someone who is comfortable behind a camera and can keep the action going and while Chef Robért doesn't seem uncomfortable he doesn't seem at home cooking for the cameras.  I also found it very annoying that he constantly reminded the viewer that he is a chef and would constantly refer to himself in the third person saying such things as, "and here is another Chef Robért tip."

Overall, I had high hopes for this book.  I really tried to put my cynical nature aside and enjoy this book.  Unfortunately, I just found too many things wrong with it.  From poorly created recipes to failing to go beyond all the clichés, I think this book, while well intentioned just doesn't make it.  The few recipes I found to be good and the few insights I did gleam from this book just don't really justify shelling out your hard earned cash.


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