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Historic Dayton House will again host Valentine's Day dinner

On Feb. 14 and 15, the Dayton House will be hosting a Valentine's Day meal featuring celebrity chefs. Pictured are: (from left) Troy Wietzema, from W-2's Quality Meats; Gwen Peil, from Hickory Lodge; Connie Voss; Kim Rogers, from Hy-Vee, Event Coordinator Laurel Shipley and Chairperson for Valentine's Dinner Mary Huls.

WORTHINGTON -- The historic Dayton House is hoping to "Make Somebody Happy" with its annual Valentine's dinner.

The dinner will be two nights, Feb. 15 and 16, with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and dinner beginning at 7 each night.

"This is the second time we've had 'Make someone happy' as the theme for our dinner and also the second time we've had the celebrity chefs," said Mary Huls, chairperson for the Valentine's dinner.

The meat for the main course will be from Troy Wietzema from W-2's Quality Meats.

"I am preparing prime rib and we're doing cod fillets with some kind of cream sauce," Wietzema said. "They were looking for something beef and since it's Lent, they were looking at doing something for Lent, so that's why we're going to do the cod."

Wietzema has been a celebrity chef before.

"I did it two years ago, and we had a very good turnout," he said. "They said that was the biggest they've had since they've done the Valentine's thing. They approached me and I said sure, no problem."

Hickory Lodge is also adding to the meal.

"We are doing the vegetables," said Gwen Peil, from Hickory Lodge. "It's going to be a mixed vegetable."

Hy-Vee will have two different parts for the meal.

"We are doing the salad, which is going to be strawberry salad with a poppy seed vinaigrette dressing," said Kim Rogers, the store's kitchen manager. "Then we have the potato portion of the meal. We're doing the world-famous Hy-Vee twice-baked potatoes."

The bread for the meal will come from Wheeler Bread, while the dessert will be made by Connie Voss.

"We are having roasted pears in a caramel raspberry sauce drizzled with white chocolate," Voss said. "I made the recipe up myself, and I thought pears were something a lot of people don't have."

This is the ninth annual Valentine's dinner and the second time they have used celebrity chefs.

"We consider them celebrities because they are local people in the community," Huls said. "Troy has meat, Hy-Vee does a lot of catering and so does Hickory Lodge. Connie has made cakes over the years. Nick Wheeler is going to be doing the bread. He was part of the celebrity chefs last time."

Rogers wasn't sure about the 'celebrity' status.

"I don't know how (I'm a) celebrity," she said. "If you ask my kids, I don't cook at home, so they are thinking that's a joke. But it's an honor, really. It's nice to be included."

For the chefs, all said it was an honor to be involved with the event.

"I think it's a neat thing. There's not a lot of options in Worthington for a fancy dinner like that," Rogers said. "It's kind of nice they open the house up and do that for everybody to treat their loved one in a special way."

Wiertzema is happy to help people celebrate the special holiday.

"Some people do things differently. Some people grill their own steaks, and some people want to come out and have a meal prepared for them," he said. "That's why I think this is a huge success and this is a nice place. It's supporting Worthington.

"Two years ago was the first time I was in here, and it's been done for many years," Wiertzema continued. "It's fabulous. It's something that should be utilized a lot more as far as I'm concerned."

"This is a special house to Worthington, so it should be a special meal," Voss added.

Each night will have space for 75 people, and reservations are filling up.

"Not everyone is going to come as a couple. We'll have people who will come as friends or will come as a group. It's not just a couples' thing," said Laurel Shipley, event coordinator for the Dayton House. "It's 'Make somebody happy,' so whether you're making your mother happy or your spouse happy, it's kind of a social event to bring people in the community out and not only enjoy a night out together, but to also to get the experience here at the Dayton House."

The meal will be served by members of the Worthington High School Honor Society.

"In order to make this happen, it is a community effort," Shipley said. "We really thank the businesses in the community that are sponsoring this event."

There will be seating options all over the Dayton House.

"It's a very, very social event. But it can be as intimate as you want to make it," Shipley said. "We have tables that are more offset than others. We have something for everybody. It's not something you're going to get if you go to a regular restaurant."

For reservations, call the Dayton House at 727-1311.

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.