Jonathan & Jessica Langston’s love affair spurred by Culinary Camp
By Fran Thompson
As far as his future wife knew, Jonathan Langston just wanted to talk about the itinerary for the youth culinary camp he was implementing as part of his job with the City of Orange Beach when he asked the soon to be Jessica Langston to meet him at Fisher’s Upstairs for a planning session before the 2016 camp.
“I mentioned it to her about six weeks before that we should meet to map out lesson plans. Actually, my whole reason for doing this was to get close to this beautiful lady at the Art Center, and it worked,’’ Jonathan said.
“That six hour meeting turned into a six hour date, and we fell in love.’’
The Langstons married just about a year later at the Orange Beach Senior Center after enjoying a sunset rehearsal picnic at Cotton Bayou Beach.
“We were married the Saturday before the next one. So this is very much a part of why I love this camp,’’ Jonathan said. “Our love of food and love of working with children is part of what has bonded us.’’
Jessica, currently the special events coordinator at the Flora-Bama, was the marketing and children’s program director at the Coastal Art Center when Chris Litton mentioned that Jonathan was a former chef and restaurant owner and was willing to help her with any culinary programs she planned for the children, which at that point were limited to cupcake and cake decorating.
Jonathan started his courtship when he mentioned the culinary camp to Jessica at the city’s employee Christmas party.
He tested the waters further by asking Jessica to meet him for coffee.
When she agreed, he upped the ante by suggesting that they instead meet at one of the fanciest restaurants on the island. How about meeting at Fisher’s Upstairs?
“I pretty much said yes before I realized this was probably a date,’’ Jessica said. “I figured it was definitely a date when I saw how nice Fisher’s was and he pulled my chair out for me.’’
Just for cover, Jonathan did bring a clipboard and notebook, and he even took time to print out camp outlines for both of them.
But his ruse was up.
“We talked for about five minutes about camp,’’ Jessica said. “The rest of the time we had drinks and appetizers and wine and dessert. It was about four hours. Maybe it was six hours. But we were pretty much in love by the time the date was finished.’’
Jessica said they kept their romance quiet while working their first culinary camp, but one student, Kate, was fitted with Cochlear implants that were connected to a microphone on Jonathan’s lapel. Of course, Jonathan left the mic on when the couple exchanged “Luv-yas’ while cleaning up in the kitchen.
“We had been dating for six weeks and we were both just absolutely star struck at this point,’’ Jessica said. “I couldn’t have been happier.
“Kate was the only other person who realized we were in love,’’ she added. “When her mother came for the graduation on the last day of camp, I told her the story and she laughed and said things like that happen all the time at school.’’
Jessica said food and travel are still a huge part of her life, whether she is making crazy recipes with her husband and 10 & 16 year-old step children or planning vacations abroad.
“It brings the family together and it’s so much fun,’’ she said.