Jamila Ross and Akino West both work in the food and hospitality industry, but that’s about where the similarities end.
When the couple, who had been dating from time to time for several years before becoming a couple, Copper Door Bed & Breakfast in Miami in 2018, their schedules were exhausting. “We were doing it 24/7,” she said. Ross said. “Our differences were not situational, but there were times that we did not want to be close to each other.”
Both 29, me. Ross, is the more creative of the two; Mr. West is methodical. She is chattering and outgoing; he is more reticent.
Being close while caring for others was somewhat challenging.
“I did not always agree with her vision, and vice versa, but we learned that one of us had to let go and be the bigger person,” said Mr. West said.
The couple met in January 2013 while having culinary students at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami. When he drove away from campus one day, she complimented his black BMW.
“I introduced myself and we had a short conversation,” she said. Ross, who grew up in Yonkers, NY. She earned an associate degree in restaurant, culinary and catering management from the Culinary Institute of America in 2012, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Johnson & Wales in 2015. ‘He was shy, but I liked how he treated himself occurred, ‘she said. “I thought we were on the same page.”
Mr. West was born and bred in Riviera Beach, Florida, and believes Mrs. Ross has a ‘beautiful smile’ and asks for her phone number. After texting for a few days, she starts with dinner. Over casual dining at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar on South Beach, they had a fun culinary debate, but they did not agree on much.
“They initially did not agree because their personalities were so different,” said Reggie Napier, 28. West’s best friend, said.
Me. Ross thought Mr. West was cool, and he was attracted to her bubbly personality. But everyone has been guarded after relationships in the past. Me. Ross has learned that a recent boyfriend cheated; Mr. West was hurt when the parents of a former girlfriend, a Puerto Rican, said they did not want their daughter to “have a black baby”.
They went out comfortably for a few months before Ross, who also worked as a training manager at the SLS South Beach Hotel, was offered a job by the parent company sbe in the restaurant foreman in Kuwait and Dubai in the spring of 2013. She accepted the job and temporarily left college.
Not long after that, Mr. West, who was a chef at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink restaurant in Miami’s Design District, did an internship at the Copenhagen restaurant Noma.
“We had challenging and rewarding experiences that were a cornerstone of our career,” she said. Ross said she worked separately overseas. The two lost contact.
In 2016, after returning to Miami, Mrs. Ross sent a message to Mr. West, who completed his bachelor’s degree in food and beverage management at Johnson & Wales. They met for an informal dinner.
“I was in him, even though I once said I would never go out with a chef because our industry is so soaked and arrogant,” she said laughing. ‘But he was different and quiet, a young man who knew what he wanted and who had already excelled in his career. It was sexy for me. ”
Mr West said he was “excited to see Jamila. She was cute and outgoing, and I liked her build and hair.”
Romance came quickly. Mr. West moved on to a new job as lunch sauce chef at Verde at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, which was close to where Mrs. Ross lived there. He comes over almost every night, eager to share an extensive meal after a long day. “I enjoyed bragging about my cooking, and since Jamila was also a food lover, she seemed very honest about judging the quality,” he said. “We showed our love through food.”
In 2017, Mrs. Ross in the house of mr. West moved in near the Aventura division in Miami. “I had to get used to living in someone else’s house,” she said. ‘Akino said it’s ours; I said it’s his. We did not communicate enough about our problems. ”
Mr. West would relax from work by playing the video game “Call of Duty” for 1 hour in their bedroom. Me. Ross, who also had a full-time job, could not sleep.
“I told her this is what I do. It allows me to scream, get away and reconnect with friends,” he said. West said. “But we finally compromised, and now I have my own playroom.”
They also argued about the fact that Ms. Ross leaves her hair products completely behind and does not rinse off the soap after a shower. “I tried to be neat, but he’s neater,” she said.
“They bump heads like two bulls,” his mother, Katrina West, said. “But Jamila and Akino have the same standards and goals, so if they do not agree, they will eventually work it out.”
It did not take long for the couple to start working together. In 2017, after running three South Florida Airbnbs, they bought and operated their own Airbnb in the Buena Vista neighborhood of Miami. (They made it their home in April 2020.)
“I was able to connect with Jamila more on a deeper level than with any other woman,” he said. West said. “If I’m with her, I can be myself.”
On New Year’s Eve, when the year turned to 2018 and the couple watched fireworks from the beach, Mr. West put on a knee and proposed. Me. Ross cried and said yes.
“Akino made me a better person,” she said. ‘I thought I was together, but he showed me ways to improve. I became more confident in public speaking and with others because of his love and support. ”
Six months later, Mrs. Ross and Mr. West bought and renovated an old Overtown building in which they plan to open the building Copper Door Bed & Breakfast. Me. Ross handled the business side, and Mr. West cooked and ran the kitchen; they were too busy planning a wedding.
However, they have found time to start seeing a therapist in 2019. “With our different styles, plus working together longer than ever before and also living together, the counseling was necessary to help us communicate and make compromises,” she said. Ross said.
“Akino and I grew independently and together and are glad that we did not wait until the age of 50 to build our dream. We like working in an area owned by blacks that helps us to revive. ‘(Overtown was considered the’ Harlem of the South ‘in the 1940s to 1960s.)
As Copper Door celebrated – they were fully booked for the Ultra Music Festival in Miami in March 2020 – the coronavirus forced them to close. But keeping the business quiet had a headache: “We slowed down and got to know each other even better,” he said. West said. “We had synergy and gave the others the attention we needed to help us tackle adult challenges.”
In April 2020, the couple opened Rosie’s pop-up restaurant in a food cart next to the bed and breakfast. Four months later, after receiving a $ 25,000 grant from Discover Card that allocated $ 5 million to help black-owned restaurants, they were able to add additional services for outdoor seating, stands and gardens.
They received another award, this for $ 10,000, after submitting a video essay to Beyoncé’s BeyGood Foundation, which worked with the NAACP to help black-owned businesses during the pandemic. Mr. West and Mrs. Ross paid their respects by collaborating with charities to feed the needy, including World Central Kitchen, founded by José Andrés.
“By learning how to identify the other’s weaknesses, they determined how they nurtured each other to survive and thrive in times of need,” her mother, Rosa Walker, said.
On May 15, after a three-year engagement, the couple were married in the garden behind their home in the Buena Vista neighborhood of Miami. Marva McKenzie, their therapist, who became a Universal Life pastor for the event, served in front of 16 guests. At least 100 more actually attended it.
The bride and groom expressed their loyalty to each other in their vows.
“I will work hard to understand your desires and make you happy,” he said. West said while wearing a custom suit from Men’s Designer Outlet.
‘You have shown me the meaning of true courage for the past six years. That’s exactly who you are, ‘she said. Ross said, who wore a strapless gown of beads and embroidered ivory by Anne Barge.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds leave with their two dogs, Buddy and Ace. Guests cheered and tossed confetti.
“I’m delighted with them,” said the bride’s father, Richard Ross. “Akino’s patience, kindness and steadfastness perfectly complement Jamila’s frenetic energy and sparkle.”
On this day
When 15 May 2021
Where In a tropical garden behind the couple’s home in the Buena Vista neighborhood of Miami.
Choice for chefs With a Moroccan dinner, chef Jason Arroyo, a former colleague of the groom, prepared a dazzling array of entrees, including roasted Za’taar chicken with hot barley salad, apricots, roasted almonds and olives.
Dessert A two-tiered lemon cake with a layer of preserves and elderflower buttercream.
Love notes At each location, the couple left the guests a special message: ‘Our journey began with a mutual passion for culinary. We find our love together to create an experience with socialization, labor, fire, water and earth. We feel blessed to break bread with you today, and we will remember this first meal as a unit with you. “