We’ve all seen their husbands, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy fame, splashed across countless magazine and newspaper pages. Their fabulous fare has recently garnered them Food + Wine “Best New Chef” accolades, and they also just celebrated the publication of their first cookbook, Collards and Carbonara. Just listening to the list of recent appearances made me tired, proud and hungry!
Having known these families since grade school, it’s been so special for me to watch their rise to foodie fame! Today, meet the amazing women who love these two renowned chefs and find out their recipe for making it all work when waking hours together are scarce!
Karie and Katie are two of the most down to earth, warm women you’ll ever meet. We enjoyed visiting with them recently at the restaurant where all the culinary magic began just a few years ago:
First thing’s first: How do you both stay so thin when pork belly is so readily available?
Karie: It’s all about moderation and being active.
Katie: I guess if I didn’t have children and had the freedom to spend more time at AM or H&H, I would carry a few more pounds!
Do you cook? What do you typically eat at home?
Karie: I am not great at it, but I do it anyway. I make a lot of soups and pastas because it is easy for Andy to heat up after work. Other than that, I will bake a piece of fish or chicken with a veggie. Nothing fancy.
Katie: I don’t have a lot of time to prepare something elaborate, and Cory is super picky! If it can be prepared by boiling water or in the microwave, then “yes” … I cook! When Michael is home, he will prepare food that’s two-year-old friendly, or we go out to eat to give him a break! Also, I’m a little intimidated by the thought of trying to impress the chef with my minimal cooking skills!
The guys have been on a whirlwind tour of the US, and you’ve been able to tag along on some of these culinary travels. Do you have a favorite destination?
Karie: The times I have gone along have been a blast. As for the landscape, my favorite has been Santa Barbara and The Happy Canyon wine region. It is absolutely breathtaking with its large horse ranches and hillside vineyards. Charleston also tops my list. (That is where Andy went to culinary school, too!)
Katie: Aspen was definitely one of my favorites! We went for the Food + Wine event, where Michael and Andy were honored as “Best New Chefs.” Charleston and New York are always fun with incredible food scenes. We’re going to Puerto Rico next month for a Food + Wine trip, and I’m pretty sure that might move to the top of my list.
Favorite family outing:
Karie: Biking the Greenline.
Katie: We love going to the Zoo! It was the location of one of our first dates; it’s where Michael proposed; and our children love it!
If the husbands could name one thing on the menu after you, what would it be?
Karie: The chicken tortellini with foie gras sugo.
Katie: Probably the gorgonzola gnocchi. Michael made it for me the first time he ever cooked dinner for me!
Your (other) favorite Memphis restaurants:
Karie: For special occasions we love eating at Iris, Erling Jensen and Felicia Suzanne’s. We also enjoy eating at Las Tortugas.
Katie: Restaurant Iris, Las Tortugas, Felicia Suzanne’s, Central BBQ, Huey’s and Cozy Corner.
Your favorite way to unwind?
Karie: I love sitting outside, listening to music, grilling with Andy (usually pork) and taking long walks.
Katie: I love to paint. I am, by no means, an artist, but I find it very therapeutic and it always allows me to escape and be creative.
On average, how many hours are you both home (and awake) each day?
Karie: Maybe an hour or two. We try to squeeze in time whenever we can. It could be later in the evening when he gets home from work, me stopping by the restaurant or Andy swinging by the house in the afternoon. Since Drew has been born, we have been able to share some extra time together in the mornings before he goes to work.
Katie: On average, we are both in the home for four to five hours at the same time, but not awake. Michael usually gets home between 12:00 to 1:00 a.m., and I get up around 4:30 a.m. to go to work. We sometimes go for three or four days without seeing each other awake! We often communicate by little notes, text messages or to-do lists!
Your proudest moment(s):
Karie: This is a hard one. I am constantly in awe of the time and dedication Andy puts into his work. It is always great to see the person you love accomplish something they have worked hard for, such as, Food + Wine “Best New Chef,” James Beard nominations, and have people enjoy your food and restaurants in a city you care about. Seeing the cookbook for the first time was truly a “wow” moment! They were able to not only share some incredible recipes, but they also told stories of what inspired them to create the dishes.
Katie: Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m so proud every time someone tells me about how wonderful their experience was at either restaurant or the interaction they have had with Michael. I’m proud every time I see him mentioned in the paper, a magazine or on the news or TV. The night the cookbook was released was a proud moment for me, but when he told me that he was chosen for Food + Wine “Best New Chef,” that might have been the “proudest” moment because I knew how much it meant to him.
Tell us how you met your chef and when you knew it was love:
Karie: Andy is one of my brother’s best friends, and my cousin is Michael (Hudman). We met when we were about 15. When he would come to see my brother, we would always sit and talk at the kitchen table about life. We did not reconnect until we were in our 30s. He always said he was going to marry me one day!
Katie: Michael and I had known of each other for years. One night, when he was back in town from Italy, we ran into each other and it became the most comfortable and easiest relationship I’ve ever had. I knew it was love very early in our relationship, and as a joke he was actually programmed in my phone as “The Man.” When I saw that he had put me in his phone as “The One,” I knew I would spend the rest of my life with him. To this day, we are still programmed in each other’s phones as “The One” and “The Man”!
Any special recipes in the new cookbook that really stand out to you?
Karie: The Grilled Vegetables; it’s an easy recipe and they’re tasty.
Katie: You mean outside of the entire dessert section?! I guess one of my absolute favorites is the Spinach-Ricotta Gnudi with Marinara and Ricotta Salata. It’s delicious!
What’s one thing our readers would be surprised to know about Andy and Michael:
Karie: Andy loves working in the yard. Lately, it’s been hard for him to find the time with his work schedule being crazy busy. This is not good for our yard or me. We will not be getting yard of the month anytime soon. He also loves playing golf and wants to put a putting green in our backyard.
Katie: I’m not sure how many people know that Andy and Michael live down the street from each other, drive the same make and model car, have matching bicycles, have many of the exact same Billy Reid clothing items (often having to coordinate so they do not show up in the same shirt). I’m sure most people have no idea how thoughtful Michael is. He is constantly surprising me by helping with housework, planning things for us to do together and leaving me notes or sweet messages since we see each other so little.
How have your lives changed with the opening of Andrew Michael and Hog and Hominy and with the recent acclaim?
Karie: We get to see them a lot less. They work extremely hard and have a work ethic that is sometimes incomprehensible. Through it all, they remain humble and very thankful. It definitely makes us appreciate our time with them.
Katie: It definitely has caused a significant increase in travel, though as far as our time together, it has not changed as much, since it was so minimal initially. From the moment we started dating, Michael has lived the restaurant life, but that comes with the job … and his dream. Andrew Michael opened two months after we were married, so pretty much our entire marriage has coexisted with his ownership/partnership/business. One huge benefit to their traveling is that I have now been able to visit wonderful places and enjoy food that I may never have had the opportunity to experience otherwise.
Since you are both native Memphians, can you imagine ever moving away? What comes next for our celebrity chefs and their sweet families? The future is so bright!!
Karie: We love being in Memphis close to family and establishing opportunities for jobs and growth in the city. We have discussed options away from Memphis, but family is very important to us so that would be a hard move.
Katie: We have discussed moving in the past, but with both of our families being here, Michael co-owning/running two restaurants, and the fact that we like living here, I cannot see us ever moving. Even if he were to venture out to another city, Memphis would always be home.
Thanks, Karie and Katie! And special thanks to Christen Jones Photography for beautiful images of these special ladies!