In 2018, Jocelyn Carol Ueng would host a five-course themed meal in her loft in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, twice a month for six paying guests at a time. In the hopes of generating publicity for her culinary project, she reached out to an Asian American literary magazine.
Although her pitch to write a story about her business was declined by the magazine, Ms. Ueng became intrigued with Katerina Shiou-Yun Jeng, one of its founders, and decided to follow her on Instagram.
“It was just like, this girl is really cool — what she’s doing is really important for the community,” Ms. Ueng said of Ms. Jeng, who was the publication’s executive editor.
Soon, they were liking each other’s social media posts. “It wasn’t out of romance or any form of attraction,” Ms. Ueng, 29, said.
And Ms. Jeng, 31, who lived in Denver, was in a relationship. “At the time, I thought I was straight,” said Ms. Jeng, who uses they/them pronouns.
The online friendship continued after Ms. Ueng left Brooklyn in 2020 to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. After graduating, Ms. Ueng helped found Wave Health, a now-defunct online platform providing access to psychedelic therapists. She reached out to Ms. Jeng to see if they’d be interested in participating in a research trial involving psychedelics, from January to June 2021.
On a monthly video call about the trial, Ms. Ueng mentioned to Ms. Jeng that she was moving to Copenhagen for an internship at Noma, a Danish restaurant. Ms. Jeng, who by then was single, asked, “Can I come?”
Ms. Jeng landed in Copenhagen in late October to meet Ms. Ueng in person for the first time. They acquired the keys to Ms. Ueng’s apartment from a lockbox and immediately felt at home upon entry.
While Ms. Ueng was at work, Ms. Jeng explored the home and peeked into their hostess’s closet. “The apartment was just a vibe,” Ms. Jeng said. “The outfits were on point. I was like, ‘This is the whole package.’”
But there was one detail that still remained a mystery. “I didn’t even know if she was queer,” Ms. Jeng said.
That weekend, while they were visiting the Garden of the Royal Library in Copenhagen, Ms. Jeng admitted that they liked Ms. Ueng.
“We went to Frederiksborg Castle, and under an archway of trees in its perfectly manicured baroque garden, she said, ‘I’m going to be a hopeless romantic and ask you for our first kiss,’” Ms. Jeng said. When the weeklong visit ended, they were both committed to a long-distance relationship.
Ms. Ueng, who grew up in Hacienda Heights, Calif., has a bachelor’s degree in management science from the University of California San Diego. While working as a digital strategy consultant in New York, she started Playtes, her former culinary business. Then, Ms. Ueng earned an associate degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America. She is now a chef de partie, or station chef, at Noma in Copenhagen.
Ms. Jeng, who grew up in Old Westbury, N.Y., has a bachelor’s in both English and music from Cornell. They became a co-founder of an Asian American creative collective and helped lead it for five years. And then in 2018, they helped start Spectacle, a marketing and communications agency, which advises businesses on inclusive marketing. Ms. Jeng is also working on their first poetry book.
On Valentine’s Day 2022, during a virtual date over FaceTime, Ms. Ueng shared that she could imagine spending the rest of her life with Ms. Jeng.
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Ms. Jeng proposed on July 9, 2022, after a light rainstorm at Britzer Garten in Berlin, where the two were vacationing. Ms. Jeng recited a poem they had written on 10 things they loved about Ms. Ueng, including the way the two held hands while falling asleep. Then, Ms. Jeng presented a dairy-free chocolate and peanut butter cake decorated with wildflowers and the words “Marry Me?”
On May 25, after a kaiseki meal, Ms. Ueng staged her own proposal with a bouquet of wildflowers and a wagashi cake in the couple’s room at Satoyama Jujo, a luxury hotel in Niigata, Japan. Ms. Ueng had been sent to Japan to work at a Noma pop-up restaurant.
The couple eloped on June 7 at the site of their first date: the Garden of the Royal Library in Copenhagen. During a 15-minute ceremony, they exchanged vows while Pernille Sorensen, a registrar assigned by the city, officiated. For now, Ms. Jeng will continue to reside in Denver and visit Ms. Ueng in Copenhagen for the next year and a half.
After enjoying cake, taking photos, blowing bubbles and visiting the beach, the couple called their families on FaceTime. Then at Ms. Ueng’s apartment, they watched the Netflix show “The Ultimatum: Queer Love” and made the noodle dish zha jiang mian.
Later, they shared a first dance to “You Send Me” by Aretha Franklin. “I was wearing my T-shirt and no pants,” Ms. Jeng said. “It was perfect — there was nothing I would have changed.”