Boston's 9 Cutest Culinary Couples for 2015

The romantic pairs behind some of the city's top restaurants
February 10, 2015
by Scott Kearnan

Valentine's Day is coming up this weekend. If you're still looking for seats to snag (assuming they're available), check our comprehensive guide to the Most Romantic Restaurants in Boston, as well as some other Valentine's-related deals. While you two lovebirds are pecking at your plate, keep an eye on the kitchen, and you might notice that sparks often fly between hospitality types. In fact, we found a few adorable culinary couples worth sharing. (Want to check out last year's adorable pairings? Head here for our 2014 valentines.) 

The Couple: Michael Serpa (chef and partner) and Lina Velez (operations manager, both of the upcoming SELECT Oyster Bar.) 

How They Met: The couple met at Neptune Oyster, where Velez was garde manger and Serpa was executive chef. In 2013 he was honored in our 30 Under 30 lineup of young all-stars for his role at the North End seafood restaurant. (The couple is pictured here at our celebratory party at Island Creek Oyster Bar.) "She won me over with her perfectly plated salads and salsa dancing skills," says Serpa.

How Long They've Been Together: The pair met in 2008 and married the following year. 

Most Romantic Food Moment: "A birthday dinner for Lina in NYC," says Serpa. "We started with caviar and champagne at Le Bernardin and then had a memorable meal at Eleven Madison Park. Really excellent stuff."  

How They're Spending V-Day: Serpa says the couple will spend the day at their soon-to-open SELECT in Back Bay, one of our most highly anticipated eateries in 2015. Afterwards you'll find them "making Sancocho [a Latin American stew] at home," says Serpa. "I never go out for Valentine's Day."

The Couple: Jeremy Sewall (chef, co-owner) and Lisa Sewall (co-owner, both of Lineage)

How They Met: At L'Espalier, where Jeremy was a chef and Lisa a pastry chef.

How Long They've Been Together: They met at the restaurant in 1996, and have been together ever since.

Most Romantic Food Moment: They celebrate their anniversary on March 31, the date of a particularly special dinner. It was during a trip to Jeremy’s family home in York, Maine. Lisa "knew Jeremy was nervous" because the expert chef cut his finger while cooking. 

The Couple: Daniel Myers (co-owner and director of operations) and Rebecca Theris (co-owner and director of wine and service, both of the upcoming Loyal Nine

How They Met: Working together at a restaurant in Providence, where they discovered they also lived just steps from one another. Daniel offered a ride home after a shift, and a romance was born. 

How Long They've Been Together: Just over 10 years, and married for four. 

Most Romantic Food Moment: They prepared their wedding banquet together with the help of family, turning a house on the water into a prep kitchen readying deep-fried turkeys and smoked whole hogs and lambs. Oh yeah, as befitting a culinary couple, they were married on Thanksgiving Day.

How They're Spending V-Day: Working to get their upcoming restaurant Loyal Nine ready to open its doors!

The Couple: Nick Zappia (owner) and Liz Vilardi (wine director and co-owner, both of The Blue Room, BELLY Wine Bar and Central Bottle)

How They Met: At The Blue Room, where Liz was a manager. 

How Long They've Been Together: Over 10 years.

Most Romantic Food Moment: For Nick’s 40th birthday, the couple had a picnic in Central Park by the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, where Nick spent a lot of time as a kid. On their menu: an elaborate spread from Dean & Deluca and a bottle of 1964 Bertani Amarone (Nick’s birth year). 

How They're Spending V-Day: Getting the restaurants ready for service, then heading home to hang with their son Lucian. And of course, a family meal — probably tacos, since their son is in a "taco phase right now." 

The Couple: Michael Lombardi (chef de cuisine at The Salty Pig) and Paige Zaitsoff Lombardi (sous-chef at Oleana)

How They Met: As line cooks at NYC's Del Posto in 2010. Michael and Paige met on the garde manger station, but the sparks didn't fly until he had moved onto pasta station and she took over running garde manger. 

How Long They've Been Together: Four years, married for six months.

Most Romantic Food Moment: Before they were officially dating, Michael used to save the extra pasta he cooked at Del Posto throughout the night and sneak it over to Paige on garde manger so that she had something to eat during her shift. 

How They're Spending V-Day: A romantic dinner at Asta restaurant on Wednesday night — because they'll be working the rest of the week and weekend!

The Couple: Tiffani Faison (chef-owner) and Kelly Walsh (manager, both of Sweet Cheeks Q)

How They Met: Top Chef and Top Chef Duels alum Faison met Walsh at a No.9 Park after-party that followed Food & Wine's 2007 Spinnazola festival.

How Long They've Been Together: Seven years, married for three years.

Most Romantic Food Moment: A Thanksgiving in Paris. Says Faison, "We rented an apartment in the Latin Quarter and Thanksgiving morning we woke up late, rolled out of bed and walked from shop to shop picking up our dinner: A few bottles of great wine, pristine seafood [like] langoustines, a variety of oysters, scallops in their shells. We also picked up a few beautiful French cheeses and a baguette, and finally a whole chicken from the rotissiere where the chicken juices drip onto the potatoes in the pan below. The meal, the wine and just being in Paris with my wife was one of the most memorable and romantic moments of my life."

How They're Spending V-Day: Working, which reminds us — don't forget to show your hospitality crushes some well-deserved love! (As in, tips.) 

The Couple: William Kovel (chef) and Sara Kovel (special events manager, both of Catalyst)

How They Met: At the now-late Aujourd'hui restaurant in the Four Seasons, where William was chef and Sara was the private functions manager.

How Long They've Been Together: Married for four years.

Most Romantic Food Moment: An early date when William made Sara a home-cooked meal of some of his favorite French dishes and found his way to her heart through her stomach. 

How They're Spending V-Day: Before William heads to Catalyst for dinner service, they'll spend the day with their shared love — two-year-old daughter Grace. (The couple also has twins on the way!) 

The Couple: Tony Messina (sashimi chef at Uni) and Katie Hamilburg (pastry chef at 80 Thoreau). They're pictured here after meeting  New England Patriots legend Joe Andruzzi. 

How They Met: At the opening of Michael Schlow's Alta Strada in Wellesley in 2007.

How Long They've Been Together: They started dating in 2009. "After six years, she still hasn’t gotten tired of me," says Messina. 

Most Romantic Food Moment: A trip to NYC for Messina's birthday. They traveled there in the middle of a blizzard, and it took eight hours, says Messina. "We eventually found our way to WD-50 even though all of Manhattan had shut down. The warmth and hospitality they showed us was special. No one wanted to be out that night because there was literally snow over our heads! Getting back to our hotel was an expedition, but it added to the memory."

How They're Spending V-Day: "We will both be working," says Messina. "At this point, we’re both used to it. We try to celebrate the day after, so we’ll find our ways somewhere this Sunday."

Want to discover more Boston culinary couples? Head here for last year's look, which includes James Beard Award-winning chef duo Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of MC Spiedo. And here's a lovely update: this month, after 25 years together, the Top Chef Masters alums officially married at Pebble Beach golf course in California. It was an intimate ceremony fit for two toques: from a gourmet four-course dinner to a taco stand, mini Manhattan and Negroni cocktails and even grilled cheese sandwiches. 

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