Although their introduction was inauspicious—they met at a murder trial they were each covering for rival networks in Huntsville, AL—Adam May and Derek Valcourt are perfectly paired both in and out of the kitchen. “Adam does most of the cooking, and I bake,” explains WJZ-TV reporter Valcourt. “I’m sweet—and he’s salty.” May, a national correspondent for Al Jazeera’s America Tonight, smiles and laughs at Valcourt’s clarification. “Sweet and salty—that totally sums us up,” he agrees. For example, “If there’s a problem with something, like, let’s say the pool guy screws up, I’ll deal with it because I’m the salty one.” Chimes in Valcourt, “And if it’s a friend in need, who has to deal with it? Me—because I’m the sweet one.”
Despite their different temperaments, the couple bonded 14 years ago over the B-52’s and a lifelong love of journalism. A gifted writer in high school, Valcourt had planned on pursuing print, but after interning in Boston at an NBC affiliate, he was bitten by the broadcasting bug and headed to Montana for his first reporting gig. “It was total culture shock,” he says, laughing at the memory. “I was in the state for one hour, and my father’s car slid into a deer as soon as we crossed the state line.”
For his part, May attributes his love of journalism to his Minneapolis days in his mother’s kitchen. “As we were prepping the food, we had a little TV that was up in the corner and was always on with the five and six o’clock news in the background,” he says. “I remember the people who were on the station and the kinds of stories they told. There was one where the reporter was doing a feature on Native Americans and how they harvest rice in northern Minnesota, and I remember watching that and thinking, ‘I want to do what [the reporter] does—that looks cool.’”
Off camera, May has been equally passionate about renovating the couple’s mid-century modern home, which sits on 1 1/2 bucolic acres in Pikesville. “We looked at this property, and it was in dire need of renovation,” he explains. But May, who is the Mr. Fix-It type, was undaunted by the idea of gutting the space as well as taking on the bulk of tile work, flooring, painting, and electrical work himself. “We were on a fairly limited budget, so I did most of the work,” explains May. Valcourt was equally unflappable. “It didn’t scare me, because I knew how handy he was,” says Valcourt. “I knew that as long as the outside worked for us, he’d be able to do anything I wanted with the inside.”
May’s proudest DIY moment? Installing a sleek, modern kitchen for less than $5,000. “I found a good deal on granite. The kitchen is all IKEA cabinets, which we spent three days assembling, and I got a coupon from Lowe’s for all the appliances,” he says. Even the stainless-steel refrigerator was a “scratch and dent.”
With the home renovation long complete, the couple enjoys family meals with their four-year-old son Jett and pet Weimaraner, Athena. While Valcourt is responsible for prep work and clean-up duty, May does most of the heavy lifting. “You make me the martini before I cook,” says May, smiling at Valcourt. “And Derek also keeps me on task—he once bought me a meat thermometer with a timer and a pager on it.”
Although May cooks with precision, he also displays an inventive streak. “I very rarely use a recipe,” he says. “Because we’re both so busy, we try to do things that are quick and easy and don’t take a lot of prep time—it’s usually a broiled piece of fish or a lean piece of meat on the grill with vegetables.” This recipe, however, is an homage to May’s mom’s so-called “hot dishes” as well as a nod to Valcourt’s love of New England seafood. “A hot dish is a Minnesota thing. It’s like a casserole,” says May. “My mom makes this egg hot dish. One day I had this leftover lobster, so I twisted my mom’s recipe, and I made it my own.”
Lobster Hot Dish
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 slices sourdough bread, toasted and cubed
- 2 steamed lobsters, shelled and torninto bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup dicedscallions, divided
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup light cream
- Dash of Old Bay
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Arrange bread, lobster, half of cheese, half of scallions, and spinach in large baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs and cream, and pour over mixture.
- Sprinkle with Old Bay and salt and pepper.
- Top with remainder of cheese and scallions. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are cooked through and cheese is bubbly.