sam mcculloch and rick kazmer photo by ashley gieseking

What I Do: Sam McCulloch and Rick Kazmer

“We’re very nontraditional,” said Taste general manager Sam McCulloch, referring to her upcoming wedding plans. But then, her relationship with fiance Rick Kazmer has been unconventional since the day they met. “The fact that we both work in the industry is what makes it work,” said Kazmer, chef de cuisine at Cleveland-Heath. This charming restaurant couple explains what keeps them connected.

How did you meet?
McCulloch: I have this bad habit of getting people’s numbers and texting them and making friends with them over the phone. I go to Arizona every year with my best friend. Jenny (Cleveland) and Ed (Heath) knew I was going, and they were like, “Our friend Rick is out there. You should go hang out with him. Tell him how great the restaurant is and why he should work here.” I got his phone number, and we were texting back and forth.
Kazmer: This person was texting me: “Hey, we need to hang out.” I was like, “Who is this?” At the end of it, I still didn’t even know – it was a person named Sam – if it was a boy or girl.

When did you finally meet in person?
K: I came to St. Louis to visit Ed and Jenny. Ed said, “You are coming to dinner tonight and Sam is coming. I moved here five to six weeks later (to help open Cleveland-Heath), and we started dating.

Why do they call you Rickipedia at Cleveland-Heath?
M: He knows everything. If you have a question on a technique or an ingredient or some fruit that no one’s ever heard of that grows every six years, he’ll know what it’s called.
K: I do a lot of reading.
M: I’ll come home, and he’ll have three books spread out. One will be about bread, one is about cured meats … You could make a sandwich out of the books.
K: We got that sherry book that just came out. I’m ready to dive into that.

You both have experience bartending, too.
K: It’s a hobby for us at home. We moved into a house that has a bar in the basement. We liked the house for other reasons, but that didn’t hurt.

What’s the house specialty drink?
M: We make a lot of tiki drinks. It’s more fun than making a Manhattan.

What do you do for fun on days off?
M: We eat (out) a lot. We have a couple favorites, but we’ve also got a list of 20 places we haven’t made it to, so we’re not allowed to repeat anywhere right now.

What’s your ideal date night?
M: I’m obsessed with little tiny dive bars in little tiny towns. We’ll get a shitty pizza and a Stag beer. That’s my ideal romantic night.

How are your wedding reception plans going?
K: I try not to think about it too much. The (catering) guy we found said, “If you want to work with me on anything, if you’ve got recipes you want to bring in, we can do that.” That was a big deal because we found a couple places that were beautiful locations, but they hand you the menu and – ugh.
M: My family would be totally down with only Bud Light and hot dogs.

What gift are you dying to get?
M: For our honeymoon, we’ll probably go camping, so the more expensive camping stuff is what I really want. What do you want?
K: Pots and pans.

Tags : People