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8 Cute Culinary Couples in Austin

By Megan Giller
February 14, 2014

Love is in the air today, and we’re celebrating by showcasing some of Austin’s cutest couples in the culinary world. From the owners of Olivia and Lucy’s Fried Chicken to the power couple behind Qui and East Side King, here are eight of Austin’s important teams.

  • The Couple: James and Cristina Holmes (Olivia and Lucy's Fried Chicken)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: James was an instructor at the Texas Culinary Academy, and Cristina was one of his students. “As soon as she graduated,” he says, “I quit my job and we took off to Mexico and lived in a thatch hut on the beach of Todos Santos in Southern Baja.”

    How Long They've Been Together: 10 years

    Go-to Date Spot: They like to grab burgers at the Counter Café for lunch.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Working at one of the restaurants

    Most romantic food movement: James said, “I've always thought there is something sexy about eating fried chicken with your hands. You just got to lick your fingers when it's good.”

  • The Couple: Paul Qui and Deana Saukam (Qui and East Side King)

    Relationship Status: Engaged

    How They Met: Though they met a decade ago through mutual friends, it took them six years to reconnect. That happened at the Liberty Bar, of all places, where East Side King’s original trailer stands. Paul invited Deana to his New Year’s Eve party at the Hotel St. Cecilia, and the rest is history.

    How Long They've Been Together: 4 years

    Go-to Date Spot: They like to do a double feature at iPic theaters with a dinner break at Musashino or Tam Deli in between.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Paul will be working at Qui all night, but Deana has promised to make him a special late-night dinner. He’s requested beef bourguignon, freshly baked bread and bananas foster. “We’ll see what happens,” Deana said.

    Most Romantic Food Moment: When Paul served quail at a private event, Deana sent her dish back. At first the chef was offended, but then he realized that she had deconstructed the quail and put it back together in the shape of a heart.

  • The Couple: JT and Brandy Egli (Craft Pride)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: The two have been inseparable since high school.

    How Long They’ve Been Together: The Eglis have been together for 22 years and married 18 years this August.

    Go-to Date Spot: Alamo Drafthouse downtown for dinner and a movie

    How They’re Spending V-Day: The couple will be swapping presents before heading to a special chocolate and beer pairing at Craft Pride. They’ll finish off the night with dinner and a movie.

    Favorite Drink the Other Person Makes: Brandy says that JT “makes a badass New York Sour.” And they both love to drink each other’s home brews.

  • The Couple: Ian Thurwachter (Jeffrey’s) and Krystal Craig (Crave Artisan Chocolate)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: At a party with mutual friends

    How Long They've Been Together: 6 years

    Go-to date spot: They’re South Austinites through and through: both love Elizabeth Street Café and Vespaio.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Both are working late (Ian will be running the line at Jeffrey’s and Krystal is selling chocolate into the evening). After work they’ll toast the holiday with champagne and chocolates.

    Favorite Dish the Other Person Makes: Though Ian rarely makes the same dish twice, Krystal says she loves his posole and duck ramen. Ian’s favorites are Krystal’s home-made s’mores and Gianduja truffles.

  • The Couple: Philip Speer (Uchi and Uchiko) and Callie Speer (Swift’s Attic)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: They met through a mutual friend at North Campus locale Posse East but didn’t go out on a date until a few months later. Callie says she called Philip to talk about “job opportunities.” She adds, “Really I just wanted to get him to go out with me, and I was too nervous to ask.” So where did he take her on their first date? Uchi, of course. “I didn’t know how to use chopsticks very well,” she says. “I was nervous as sh*t.”

    How Long They've Been Together: 8 years

    Go-to Date Spot: With so many new restaurants popping up, they choose to check out new places rather than stick with the same-olds.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Working. Callie said, “When we're finished, we avoid the Valentines Day crowd like the plague.”

    Best Thing About Being in a Relationship With Someone in the Industry: The couple has two girls, and Callie says that “they're growing up with a love and respect for food and hard work that would be harder to teach otherwise.”

  • The Couple: Evan LeRoy (Freedmen’s) and Lindsey Carlton (Cultivate PR)

    Relationship Status: Engaged (getting married April 5!)

    How They Met: Though the pair worked for the same section of their college newspaper for three years at Florida State, they never met. At a newspaper holiday party, Lindsey was the last to leave and Evan was the last to arrive. They started talking at the bar, and one year later they moved to New York City together.

    How Long They've Been Together: 6 years

    Go-to Date Spot: On casual nights they drink beer at Craft Pride or Whip In or grab Tex-Mex at Polvo’s or pizza at Bufalina.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Wedding planning. Evan is cooking dinner for Lindsey and her parents.

    Best Thing About Being in a Relationship With Someone in the Industry: Lindsey says she loves taste-testing Evan’s new recipes, and Evan says he appreciates “sharing a passion for great food” but that “having a little help on the PR front doesn’t hurt either.”

  • The Couple: Rob and Amy Cartwright (Independence Brewing)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: At a work party back when Amy worked in the tech industry. Rob was “the slightly overly-competitive player with long red hair” who “got in my face playing Nerf football keep-away in the pool.”

    How Long They’ve Been Together: 15 years

    Go-to Date Spot: Alamo Drafthouse for dinner and a movie

    How They’re Spending V-Day: They’re planning to “sneak over to Whip In for a taste of the Convict Hill Cask with hazelnut and chocolate” before heading home to spend the evening with their two young girls, where they’ll eat some real chocolate.

    Most Romantic Food Moment: Rob proposed on Valentine's Day. Amy says, “He couldn’t decide what to make, so he made a little of everything: hand-made chocolate truffles, chocolate-dipped strawberries and black forest cake. He hopped me up on chocolate-fueled endorphins before popping the question.”

  • The Couple: Steven Cak (Parkside Projects) and Jessica Peterson (Arro)

    Relationship Status: Dating

    How They Met: The pair met in Minneapolis while Jessica was interning at the restaurant where Steven worked.

    How Long They've Been Together: 5 years

    Go-to Date Spot: The couple lives up north, and they love the ethnic options around them: Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Din Ho, Tan My, Tomodachi, Enchiladas y Mas, El Nuevo Mexicana and Taco More.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Working. Steven gets Jessica yellow roses, her favorite. They already celebrated last week by dressing up for a nice dinner “and pretending to be non-industry people,” Jessica says.

    Best Thing About Being in a Relationship With Someone in the Industry: “Grocery shopping,” Jessica tells us, with a wink.


Places Mentioned


American • Downtown

Food25 Decor23 Service23 Cost$37
Arro Austin

French • Downtown

Food24 Decor25 Service24 Cost$48

Cocktail Bar • West Campus

Atmo.- Decor- Service- Cost 
Uchi Restaurant

Sushi • Bouldin Creek

Food29 Decor27 Service27 Cost$73

Japanese • Rosedale

Food28 Decor27 Service27 Cost$78
Swift's Attic

American • Downtown

Food26 Decor26 Service24 Cost$48
Jeffrey's Restaurant

Fine Dining • Clarksville

Food25 Decor25 Service24 Cost$81

French • South Lamar

Food24 Decor24 Service23 Cost$44
Lucy's Fried Chicken

Chicken • Bouldin Creek

Food20 Decor18 Service21 Cost$22
Lucy's Fried Chicken

Southern American • Allandale

Food20 Decor18 Service21 Cost$22
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