Romance in Miami Restaurants

Chef Francis Mallmann
July 8, 2016
Getting to Know Guy Fieri
February 20, 2017
While everyone in Miami is scrambling to make last-minute Valentine’s Day reservations, we thought we’d go behind the scenes and see what’s heating up in the kitchen. Literally. Not only do the dynamic duos below rule some of our favorite restaurants in Miami, but they’re also kings and queens of their own castles – as couples in the Miami restaurant scene. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a sneak peek at what these lovable foodies are like together in the kitchen… when they’re off the clock, that is.

Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro

Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro are Co-Owners of Miami’s most popular donut shop, The Salty Donut. Fun fact? They just got married 10 days ago in Cartagena, Colombia. Congratulations, you two!

Richard + Jenny Hales


Richard Hales is Chef/Owner of Bird & Bone and his wife, Jenny, is the Pastry Chef. The couple has also worked together at two other Miami restaurants, Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick.

What he says about their relationship in the kitchen: "I admit – I am tough on Jenny in the kitchen. I drive her for excellence and sometimes forget she is self-taught. She makes the best desserts and breads I've ever had."

What she says about their relationship in the kitchen: "I don't have the professional experience that Richard has had in the kitchen, so I can get easily frazzled under high stress situations where I have to perform. Richard is so relaxed and focused in the kitchen that he keeps me calm. I feel like we complement each other very well in the kitchen; we make a good team. I learn something new from him every day.

Jeff McInnis + Janine Booth


Here in Miami, Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are Chefs/Co-Owners of Sarsaparilla Club. They also co-own Root & Bone, in New York City.

What she says about their relationship in the kitchen: "Jeff and I love cooking together in our restaurants, but we really love the moments we share in our home where we get to experiment and create new dishes. My favorite nights are those spent watching the sunset in our back yard with a bottle of wine, cooking over our cauldron grill."

Cindy Hutson + Delius Shirley


Here in Miami, Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley are Chefs and Co-Owners of Ortanique on the Mile, Zest and Zest MRKT. In the past, they have opened Norma’s on the Beach, and around the world, restaurants at The Cliff (Negril, Jamaica), Ortanique Camana Bay (Cayman Islands) and The Dunmore (Harbour Island, Bahamas).

What he says about their relationship in the kitchen: “Restaurants are a labor of love, but it will never replace the passion we have for each other.”

What she says about their relationship in the kitchen: “We basically have a great relationship in the restaurant. When I'm shorthanded and need help, Delius has to do what I tell him to do. He sucks it up and does the tasks the way I want them done. (It's great to be queen!) One time I did throw a bucket of conch batter at him, however. Only once though…”

Leslie Ames + Sebastian Fernandez


Sebastian Fernanez and his wife, Leslie Ames, own 33 Kitchen, a Peruvian restaurant in Coconut Grove. Prior to that, Fernandez was the Food and Beverage Director at the Coral Reef Yacht Club for 14 years.

What he says about their relationship in the kitchen: "I fell in love with Leslie and her Peruvian food."

What she says about their relationship in the kitchen: “Some people told us it wouldn’t be easy working together as husband and wife, but our roles are well-defined. While he’s in charge of all the food and the kitchen, I'm in charge of the front of house and customer service; and we respect and trust each other’s decisions. Some people says the key is to separate the restaurant from home, but we disagree. We love our job, we love what we do and that’s who we are. If we don't talk about what we love, what else are we going to talk about? Politics? Well… sometimes.”

Dena Marino + Marcus Wade


Dena Marino is Chef/Partner of MC Kitchen, and her husband, Marcus Wade, is the restaurant’s Director of Operations.

What he says about their relationship in the kitchen: “I would say our relationship is unique. We've been working together from the very first day we met. There have been a few pots and pans (and maybe even a sheet tray or two) flung around the kitchen – but 21 years later, well, I love her now more than ever.”

What she says about their relationship in the kitchen: “Being in the kitchen or the restaurant together is both the best and the worst. Hahaha. Marcus is a great cook, as well... but I'm still the boss and the chef!”

Scott Linquist + Alexandria Guerra


Scott Linquist is the Chef/Co-Owner of Olla, and Alex helps with the front of house and serves as the restaurant’s Culinary Publicist. Scott also owns both Coyo Taco locations, one in Wynwood and one in Brickell.

What he says about their relationship in the kitchen: “Not everyone has the opportunity to spend all day everyday with their favorite person in the world. I know, I know; most people wouldn't want to, but Alex and I just click. Relationships at work usually don't work at all, and this one does! At the restaurant, I can always count on her peering over stacks of plates to give me a smile... or more likely, trying to snap an awkward photo or "Instagram video" of me to spread all over social media. We are like two peas in a pod. We love food, life and each other like there is no tomorrow – and I wouldn't change a thing.”

What she says about their relationship in the kitchen: “Our life basically takes place in the kitchen, and I wouldn't want it any other way. My favorite time is when we're at home, listening to music, chasing the puppy and cooking. And by cooking, I mean me taste-testing and Scott in chef mode. (But trust me, we like it better this way.) The kitchen has always been my favorite place to be. I mean, do people actually like sitting in a dining room? We’ve always spent all our time in the kitchen, even though sometimes that means it’s me bothering Scott during service.. but only because I love him or I’m just really hangry! I’ve always loved food, but being with Scott has made me love it even more because now I have the best in the person world to enjoy it with.”

Brad + Soraya Kilgore


Brad Kilgore is Executive Chef and Owner of his Wynwood restaurant, Alter, and his wife, Soraya, is the Pastry Chef. Prior to this, Brad spent time in Chicago, where he worked at restaurants like L2O, Alinea and Boka. When he moved to Miami, he worked at Azul, and just before Alter, served as the Executive Chef of J&G Grill, Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant in Bal Harbour.