Vail Chef Kelly Liken Sounds off on Valentine’s Day, Sexy Veggies, and PDA

Chef Kelly Liken can make any dish sexy -- except for meatloaf. But only because no one can make meatloaf sexy.

If you’re a true foodie, you’ve probably dined at Kelly Liken restaurant in Vail, Colorado. And, if you’re like us, you’ve probably rooted for her on season 7 of Top Chef. So, we were thrilled when Chef Liken agreed to take the OpenTable R.Q., or Romantic Quotient, Test, and share her insights on sexy and not-so-sexy foods, the dish she made the night she got engaged, and how you can make your next meal at Kelly Liken extra special. 

Do you believe that food and drink can act as aphrodisiacs?

Absolutely! I’m not so sure about the science behind certain foods, but the act of sharing food with a loved one? That is sexy!

Aphrodisiacs aside, what do you consider to be some of sexiest dishes?

I definitely think spicy food can be really sexy! There’s something about the pain and pleasure all at the same time, plus it gets the blood moving. There’s nothing like oysters on the half shell, though I’m not sure exactly why, but they’re fun and interactive. I think also it’s about treating yourself to something expensive, so that‘s why you see a lot of caviar going out the door [on Valentine’s Day]. Because you don’t let yourself have something like that every day. In thinking about the meal as a whole, I don’t find really heavy, fatty foods really sexy. Lighter and brighter is sexier. You don’t want to go home feeling sick to your stomach!

Are there any foods that strike you as particularly unromantic or unsexy?

Well, I hate meatloaf. I’m sure for some people it could be sexy, but I kinda can’t think of a food I like less than meatloaf. Ever since I was a kid, I haven’t liked it. It’s a texture thing. It’s not appealing. It’s not pretty.

Can veggies be sexy?

Everyone calls me the crazy veggie lady! I start my foods with what is growing around me, and I find nothing sexier than a perfectly cooked vegetable. Vegetables are how we bring color, sweetness, texture, and tanginess to a plate. And, when you’re thinking about the whole plate and how to evoke emotion, vegetables are just so much more versatile in helping to achieve that. Also, how many people do you know that order a dish off the menu solely because of what comes with the dish?

Guilty as charged. Have you ever wooed a love interest with a particular dish or drink? What was it?

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