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Restaurant Romance: When Married Chefs Share a Kitchen

When chefs Jane and Jeremy Strode tied the knot in 2004, it was a union built on love, respect and a mutual appreciation of food.

Since then, the husband-and-wife team behind Bistrode CBD have started a family and led many successful food-focused ventures. They’ve also continued to hold onto a feeling of deep admiration for one another’s culinary talents.

“Jez is a great chef who knows how to get the most out of produce and how to respect food. He's also really excited about it, which gets other people excited about it, which is really important when you're leading a big team,” says Jane.

Both at home and at the restaurant, Jane is known for her efficiency. “It’s one of her biggest strengths,” declares Jeremy. “She’s also a really good teacher,” Jeremy follows up. “She’s patient and passionate.”

Not everyone could cope with the demands of running a restaurant kitchen and working alongside their partner (a recipe for disaster in some people’s books), but it’s what the couple has always known. “We’ve always lived and worked closely together,” says Jane.

Of course, life in the kitchen is not always peachy. The pair – Jane from Sydney, Jeremy from England’s West Country – admits to having their fair share of quarrels at work. When tensions rise, what better place for a fiery discussion than in the restaurant’s cool room? “We have heated blow-ups in a cool area,” Jeremy says laughingly.

When it comes to advice and survival tips for other couples interested in going into business together Jeremy says, it’s important to make time for each other, to which Jane teasingly inquires, “How’s that going for you?”

Light-hearted banter like this seems to be the glue that holds these two together. That and the amazing assortment of curries Jane whips up at home and Jeremy’s scrambled eggs – a firm family favourite at the weekend.

In the case of Valentine’s Day treats, Jane and Jeremy agree you can’t beat a light and creamy goat’s milk cheesecake paired with raspberries and burnt fig -- a “sexy fruit” insists Jane.

“Figs are plump, soft, sweet and gorgeous in desserts," claims Jane. And with fig season peaking Jeremy says, it's the perfect time of year to eat them.

“The figs, goat’s cheese, raspberries and the Pedro Ximénez all go really well together and make for a truly decadent dessert,” concludes Jane.

Goat’s milk cheesecake with burnt fig and raspberries

Serves 4

You will need

3 gelatine leaves (gold variety)

85ml cranberry juice

125g cream cheese

125g ricotta cheese

250g soft goat’s cheese

100g caster sugar

2 tbsp pure icing sugar

100g raspberries

1 tbsp Pedro Ximénez

2 figs, cut in half

4 Butternut Snap biscuits (chopped into a rough crumb)

Method

1. Spray 4 150ml capacity moulds with vegetable oil.
2. Soak gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. Remove from water and squeeze out excess water.
3. Place juice in a small saucepan and warm to about 40°C or body temperature.
4. Add gelatine to juice and stir until completely dissolved.
5. Place the three cheeses and caster sugar in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Scrape down sides with a spatula if needed.
6. Add juice to cheese with motor running and blend until completely combined.
7. Transfer to a jug and pour into moulds. Chill until set, about 4 hours or overnight.
8. 30 minutes before serving, place raspberries, 1 tbsp of icing sugar and Pedro Ximénez in a bowl and toss gently.
9. Sprinkle remaining icing sugar on cut side of figs and use a blow torch to caramelise sugar.
10. Place a spoonful of biscuit crumb in four bowl plates. Gently unmould cheesecake and place on top. Garnish with half a caramelised fig and a spoonful of raspberries and sauce.

With a little prep, this recipe is fairly simple. But if you’re still not convinced, pop into Bistrode CBD on February 14 and Jane and Jeremy will whip a couple up for you and your loved one.