8 Cute Culinary Couples in Austin

By Megan Giller  |  February 9, 2015
Credit: Daniel Brock

Love is in the air this week, and we’re celebrating by showcasing some of Austin’s cutest couples in the culinary world. From the owners of Craft Pride to the power couple behind Qui and East Side King, here are eight of Austin’s cutest and most important culinary teams.

  • 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: 5 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 says.

    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: 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: 11 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 Moment: 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: 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 23 years and married 19 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.

  • Credit: Daniel Brock

    The Couple: Adam Jacoby and Kris Swift (Jacoby's Restaurant and Mercantile)

    Relationship Status: Dating

    How They Met: At a mutual friends birthday party on a Saturday night. 

    How Long They've Been Together: 2.5 years

    Go-To Date Spot:  Bufalina 

    How They're Spending V-Day: Working the dinner shift at Jacoby's, plus champagne in the yard on Sunday. 

    Most Romantic Food Moment: Jacoby said that the pair love to cook at home. "On one of our first date nights," he said, "I cooked my mom's Irish-Italian spaghetti for him. It's now a tradition, and he secretly thinks he's better at making it than me!"

  • The Couple: Philip Speer (formerly of 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: 9 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 Valentine's 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 LeRoy (Cultivate PR)

    Relationship Status: Married

    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: 7 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: Camping at Enchanted Rock.

    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.”

  • Credit: Jody Horton

    The Couple: Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher (Lenoir)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: Duplechan likes to say that they met in the "locker room" underneath Danube Restaurant when both of them worked for David Bouley. "But really," he said, "we met at a bar after work."

     How Long They've Been Together12 years

    Go-To Date Spot: They try to go check out new places in town rather than sticking with a few old favorites. Right now they're going to Dai Due quite a bit.

    How They're Spending V-Day: Duplechan will be at work. "She’ll be spending it with our two boys," Duplechan said, "and I’ll be spending it with a bunch of really happy couples."

    Most Romantic Food Moment: When the pair lived in New York, they would get off work late and wander around the city and talk, à la Before Sunrise. "We had the city to ourselves at 2 AM," said Duplechan.

  • The Couple: Philip Brown and Laura McIngvale-Brown (Vince Young Steakhouse)

    Relationship Status: Married

    How They Met: Through friends while they were in college (in Austin!).

    How Long You've Been Together: Almost 11 years

    Go-To Date Spot: Second Bar and Kitchen. Or they like to stay at home and huddle around the fire pit at their house with their four dogs and their pig, sharing a bottle of wine and a cheese plate from Antonelli's.

    How They're Spending V-Day: At work. They say there's no place they'd rather be than with their "second family."

    Most Romantic Food Moment: Dinner at Alain Ducasse in Paris on their honeymoon. They say, "The food was incredible and the service and attention to detail was bar none."