After first falling for each other on the set of his “What’s Left of Me” music video in 2006, Nick and Vanessa Lachey are still happy in love—just look at their PDA-filled Instagram photos for proof. But after seven years of marriage and three kids, Vanessa says that Valentine’s Day has “completely evolved” for them.
No longer caught up in dinner reservations and fancy nights out, Vanessa tells PEOPLE that they prefer to spend Valentine’s Day in the kitchen with their kids.
“I love when me and my kids get to cook for Nick,” says Vanessa, who partnered up with Bob Evans Farms to create Valentine’s Day dishes to make at home. “It makes it a full family affair and it’s so satisfying for me.”
She says that it was actually Curtis Stone, her co-host and the head judge on Top Chef Junior, who suggested bringing her kids into the kitchen. “He was like, ‘If you put them in the living room or the playroom you’re going to be cleaning up a mess of toys or markers—which is fine,’” she shares. “‘But if you’re cooking, you can clean up the mess that they make with you. You’re still cleaning up a mess, but you can be together, and they can be exploring the kitchen and understanding ingredients.’”
Ever since then, she’s been focused on including her three junior chefs—Phoenix Robert, 2, Brooklyn Elisabeth, 4 and Camden John, 6—in the kitchen as much as possible.
Her husband on the other hand isn’t as willing to get creative on his own behind the store.
“[Nick] loves to clean the kitchen, which is probably my favorite thing about him,” Vanessa says. “He’s like, ‘If you cook, I’ll clean.’ That’s definitely a deal we have in the Lachey house that I’m very excited we established very early on. I cook and he’ll do the dishes; if I grocery shop, he’ll put them away. It’s a really good deal.”
Vanessa admits that while Nick makes breakfast for the kids, he “never cooked for me until Mother’s Day this past year,” she says. “It was awesome. He made all my favorites.”
That said, Vanessa says Nick does cook the meat for the family. “He’s so cute, he’s good at it, but he’s always looking at his phone for directions, wanting to learn,” she says. “And he’s always unsure. Every time I cut into the meat he’s like, ‘Is it done enough? Is it done enough? I can put it back on.’”
Vanessa will even have Nick cook the steak for the romantic Valentine’s Day dinner she has planned for the two of them once the kids go to sleep.
“Just because we’re old doesn’t mean we can’t get dressed up,” she says, “and open a bottle of wine and light some candles.”
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