As far as holidays go, Valentine’s Day can bring a lot of pressure: From the mood to the menu, you want to get all the conditions just right for wooing that special someone.

Celebrated chef Alex Hitz is certainly someone who knows a thing or two about entertaining—he has, after all, been dubbed “the Ralph Lauren of food and wine.” He combines his Southern upbringing with his French culinary education to create an upscale-yet-unfussy approach to cooking, which he has now shared in three books; his latest, “Occasions to Celebrate: Cooking and Entertaining With Style,” was released in fall 2022.

So if anyone could make Valentine’s Day perfect, it’s Hitz—which is why PALMER asked him a few questions about his ideal Valentine’s Day plans. Get ready to take notes.

What’s your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day evening?

A table for two…red roses, tall candles, Bossa Nova music—the lights are low…

What is your most memorable Valentine’s Day in Palm Beach?

Several years ago, I flew into Palm Beach on Valentine’s Day and a group of friends and I had to find somewhere for dinner. There was a restaurant—now long gone—where The Carriage House is now. It was a 1970s throwback—and, let’s just say, the other guests were already in advanced years in the 1970s. The music hadn’t changed since the ’70s. Nor had the tablecloths, I thought. They had Bailey’s Irish Cream martinis (for Valentine’s?!) instead of regular martinis. The food was run-of-the-mill bad bar food—hot wings, onion rings, etc. But for the lack of romance, the fact we didn’t have some odious pre-fix, many-coursed dinner, and the fish-out-of-water fun factor, we all had an amazing evening.

What’s the most romantic gesture your have ever heard anyone do?

I keep waiting for someone to tell me, but all anybody wants to do is show me their Instagram!

I understand you have a very romantic menu that you have created?

Yes—the ultimate aphrodisiac menu from “The Art of the Host“: Rose champagne, oyster stew, steak au poivre, chocolate mousse. But you’re going to have to buy the book to get more info!