by Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Jillian ClarkWhen it comes to Valentine’s Day, the last thing I want is the crowded, stressed-out environment of a completely booked restaurant. I much prefer to cook at home, with or for the object of my affection.While the majority of this year’s meal will likely come down to a game-day decision, I knew months beforehand what I want this year’s dessert to be: chocolate mousse.This basic dessert has everything going for it in the romance department. For starters, it’s French. What’s more, it features chocolate, the consumption of which on Valentine’s Day is something of an unwritten rule.And while I don’t expect to find any chocolate that is truly local – the cacao bean needs a tropical climate to flourish – Raleigh does have exceptional bean-to-bar producers within its city limits (for a story about them, see Walter’s August 2013 issue or waltermagazine.com).Escazu, which launched in 2006, was the first to offer the city a chocolate where producers were involved in the production process from start to finish, giving them complete control over the result. More recently, Videri Chocolate Factory has opened its doors, offering even more transparency into the process of making chocolate at their beautiful glass-encased factory.For my mousse, I chose Videri’s classic dark bar, because I wanted an intensely rich depth to my dessert. Then I sought out my two mousse ninjas, one close to home and one further afield.The first is Jody Williams, chef of Buvette, a tiny French boite in New York City’s West Village neighborhood. The mousse on that menu is the Platonic ideal, in my opinion, of what all mousse should be – crazy-dense, but somehow fluffy at the same time; so rich that you must cap it with some fresh whipped cream just to keep going. Furthermore, Williams is a romantic about the process, sweetly but firmly insisting that it comes out best when you whip the egg whites and egg yolks in separate copper bowls, as the French would do. It’s the type of ludicrous (copper bowls? are you kidding me?) but charming detail that adds to the allure of this dessert.My second reference is in Durham, at Vin Rouge Bistro. Chef Matthew Kelly has had chocolate mousse on the menu since the beginning, and it has become the most frequently ordered dessert by a long shot. He scoffed when I told him about Jody’s copper bowl technique – “that’s ridiculous,” he said – but Kelly has his own romantic ideas about the dessert. For one, his love for mousse is rooted in childhood nostalgia, born of a deep love for mousse’s American step-sister, chocolate pudding. Secondly, he serves the chocolate mousse at Vin Rouge tableside – a waiter comes over with a giant ceramic vessel of the stuff and scoops spoonfuls on to your plate. It’s a retro touch that adds an intimate whimsy to the meal.I pulled from both recipes in coming to my own. The resulting mousse makes way more than two people would ever need, and it’s a splurge to use Videri, which runs at $8 for two bars, but the luxuriousness of the finished product is as romantic as it gets.Chocolate Mousse Serves 8 to 10 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes14 ounces Videri dark chocolate (or another high quality dark or bittersweet chocolate), chopped6 large eggs, separated, plus 3 egg whitesSalt6 teaspoons superfine sugarFreshly whipped cream, for servingIn a bowl set over a small pot of simmering water, add the butter and the chocolate and stir until melted and combined. Transfer to a large bowl.In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with a pinch of salt until they turn a pale yellow color.In a second large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.Whisk a few tablespoons of the warm chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper it, then add the egg yolk mixture to the chocolate mixture in small additions, whisking each time to thoroughly incorporate before adding more. **Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.**Transfer the mousse to a large ceramic serving vessel, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.Serve by scooping out helpings of the mousse into ramekins and topping each with a dollop of fresh cream. Or, if you’re eating with your loved one, eat the mousse directly from the dish with spoons like it’s a pint of ice cream.*Note: If your mixture breaks — that is, if the fat from the chocolate separates and the whole thing looks like an oily mess — quickly heat about 1 cup of skim or lowfat milk in a microwave until warm. Then, with an electric mixer running, add the milk in a slow drizzle to the chocolate-egg yolk mixture until it re-emulsifies and becomes smooth again (you may not need to use the whole cup). Then proceed with adding your egg whites.
JetBlue Airways has teased the prospect of launching flights to Europe for years. Now, under the leadership of president and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty, the carrier might be inching ever closer to introducing service to London from New York JFK and Boston.“London is on the top of the list that is not served,” Geraghty tells Runway Girl Network. “It’s no big secret we’ve been looking at the A321LR. It’s within our Airbus contract.” JetBlue has orders for 85 A321neos, the first of which will be delivered this year.Auxiliary fuel tanks would provide the additional range needed to kick-start European service, and the airline would require ETOPs certification. “It’s something we are always looking at,” said Geraghty.She is convinced that JetBlue could easily handle any service upgrades required for long-haul, international flights. “We did an exceptional job with Mint service,” she said in reference to the upscale, premium product offered on select JetBlue flights.The carrier’s Mint service includes lie-flat seats, artisanal dining, plenty of free entertainment, and more on select coast-to-coast and Caribbean flights. Image: JetBlue AirwaysA foray into European markets could be a game changer, but Geraghty is already making her mark at JetBlue in a number of ways.For example, ground crew members who worked in the sweltering heat at Orlando complained about working in long pants and long sleeve shirts designed to cover tattoos. So the employees voiced their concerns to the then-head of customer experience, Joanna Geraghty. The policy was reviewed and the requisite changes were quickly made.“Crew members need to be happy,” Geraghty explained. “You take care of your people, they take care of your customer. Whether its pay, benefits, tattoos or nail polish color, we try to find solutions to make their work life better.”Geraghty began her career with JetBlue in 2005. As an attorney, she served as a vice president, handling litigation and regulatory affairs for the airline, and eventually became EVP customer experience. She was named president and COO in May 2018.She joins a very select group of women who are in the C-Suite at airlines. A major challenge presented itself when Geraghty was promoted to her current role. The carrier needed to trim $300 million from operating costs by 2020.“We realigned the leadership team to focus the right sources on the right work,” said Geraghty. Currently, the airline still has about 200 people coming through training programs every other week, as new hires or to backfill vacant slots, she said.Joanna Geraghty is among a small but growing group of women serving in the C-Suite at airlines. Image: JetBlueOn the horizon, JetBlue will see some significant changes in its fleet beginning in 2020. The carrier has 60 firm orders and 60 options for new Airbus A220s, previously known as Bombardier C Series aircraft, which will replace the carrier’s fleet of Embraer 190 regional jets. “That aircraft is absolutely beautiful,” said Geraghty in describing the A220. Capacity starts at 100 seats, but Geraghty declined to reveal what the JetBlue configuration would be.Geraghty is a firm believer in an open door policy for team members, but admits there is a challenge when the workforce is scattered geographically. “You need to stay connected with your team. You can’t lose that connection.”She recently unveiled a new program, ‘Ask Joanna’, which is posted on the airline’s Hello JetBlue-branded corporate website. Employees can voice their opinions or have their questions answered. Thus far, the response has been positive, she said, but the challenge has been in managing the sheer volume.With an eye to the future, Geraghty has always been a supporter of programs aimed at promoting studies in science, technology, engineering and math for young women. She serves as president of the JetBlue Foundation, which is committed to supporting aviation-related education and STEM initiatives.“We are the only airline with a dedicated foundation for creating opportunities in STEM programs.” Geraghty explained. The foundation has provided $1 million in grants to increase opportunities and to expose girls and young women to the wide and varied career paths in aviation. “It’s a great industry – exciting and inspiring.”While women continue to rise in the ranks, there is still a paucity in the higher executive ranks, but with people like Geraghty and other professional women in the pipeline serving in management, operations, revenue management, finance and other leadership roles, the situation is likely to change.Related Articles:Op-Ed: A woman’s place is in the flight deck and the C-SuiteJetBlue picks A220-300 over E195-E2 in closely fought battleAir France commits to further improving gender diversity and equalityAviation and tech company chief seeks to increase women in both fieldsOp-Ed: Airlines say they want more women but can’t find their C-spotJetBlue to launch Airbus Airspace cabin for A320 familyBehind the Livery: A talk with JetBlue graphic designer Ciara CordascoSuccessful Mint rollout prompts crew training refresh at JetBlueConsidering JetBlue’s IFE options for the Airbus A320neoSix ways airlines use creative training to build confident cabin crew