Cooking Up A Romance | Verve Magazine
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October 06, 2016

Cooking Up A Romance

Text by Wyanet Vaz

“As the chef, I get more of the glory, but she’s the guts of the business.” Kelvin Cheung and Andrea Michele talk about the game behind the flame

Chef Kelvin Cheung met Andrea Michele at a yoga class in Bandra. Three years later they launched a chain of restaurants and planned a surprise wedding. After giving the city a taste of modern American cuisine at Ellipsis, their pet projects — One Street Over, Bastian and The Drunken Clam (all under Aallia Hospitality), include some of their favourite meals born out of childhood memories, and a beautiful co-working relationship. “When Kelvin was going to take the Dan Dan Noodles off the One Street Over menu, I had to burst into fake tears. It’s one of my favourite dishes and I couldn’t imagine not being able to order it anymore. I realised at this moment, that occasionally it’s necessary to turn off marketing head and turn on wife!”

The effervescent duo, who hashtag themselves as #twobecomecheung, talk to us about their simple life, personal and professional relationship, and food that binds them together.

First bite…
Kelvin: “I was first drawn to her downward dog. Then it was her smile!”
Andrea: “For me, it was Kelvin’s absurd sense of humour and deep belly laugh. He’s so inappropriate in most situations and marches to the beat of his own drum.”

Pet project…
“Rebuilding Aallia Hospitality was a large project and required a massive commitment (including moving back to India), and we couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else. We are both so invested in making the company’s new avatar successful.”

The balancing act…
“As our outlets are still all less than a year old, we are both extremely hands on at this point. We have very clear individual roles. Kelvin heads all things related to food, and I take care of marketing. There are many points when our roles overlap, but we both function as operational heads and human resources. We even mop floors when needed.”

On the dining table…
“Our dinner table is either at Bastian or One Street Over. We share a cute, bungalow with Chef Boo Kim, so it’s only natural that work comes home with us on a frequent basis.”

Home meals consist of…
“Eggs, nutritional yeast, sriracha, and black coffee.”

The upside…
“The best part about co-working is that we understand each other so much more. Learning how to be together all the time and running restaurants bring us closer as a team. We have learned how to show affection without it always being physical. Our team doesn’t want to see us planting huge, sloppy kisses every day, and it’s been fun to learn about each other’s love languages.”

Greatest challenge…
“The inability to turn work off, since it’s so easy to work all the time when your spouse is next to you. Also, planning a surprise is tough. There’s no sneaking out to buy a gift (thank goodness for online shopping).”

After hours…
“When not working we can be found stuffing our faces with dosa in Matunga. Kelvin usually attends a crossfit class, and I practice yoga.”

Food you love…
Kelvin: “Her raw, vegan carrot cake with cashew frosting is ridiculously good.”
Andrea: “I would have married him for his popcorn grits alone! I am a massive fan of his burgers, pokes, and pho.”

Relationship hacks…
“We have entered into our marriage with a commitment to spend a lifetime together, so we focus our energy on making that relationship work. The same can be said about One Street Over, Bastian, and The Drunken Clam. We are committed to making them not only great places to eat and celebrate, but also a friendly work environment.”

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