Meet Your New Neighborhood Foodies!

By:
Kimberly A. Suta
Photography By:
David Teran
Personal Photography By:
courtesy of the Johnsons

Your new neighbors, Amye and Jeff Johnson, who moved into Cordillera Ranch in 2022, are already beloved by those who have met them. The couple was surprised to have been chosen to be the featured homeowners. However, the more you get to know them, the more you quickly understand why they were an exceptional choice!

First of all, they adore entertaining and do so in style, although in this regard too, the couple is very humble. 

“Amye likes to entertain here at home. I’m a lucky man because she’s a fabulous cook,” shared Jeff, who is known to be the more reserved of the two — that is until you get to know him and enjoy his quick-witted sense of humor. Amye is the more loquacious one.

“That’s been our fun way of meeting people here. We just like to host people at the house. We’re very casual entertainers, but there’s usually a beef entrée,” Amye laughed.

Jeff responded, “It’s not casual. She goes all out.”

Amye agreed, “There are no paper plates involved.” 

According to Jeff, Amye has a pretty extensive repertoire of dishes she creates for guests, and it’s not always beef, but don’t be shocked if it is. Jeff has already earned a reputation as the go-to guy for questions about beef, steaks, etc., and that’s because he really is an expert. 

Both Jeff and Amye are native Texans with deep Texas roots. Jeff was raised in Houston and graduated from UT-Austin before his career took him to Chicago, where he worked on the Chicago Board of Trade. Amye is from Dallas but she was already familiar with the Hill Country, having spent eight summers of her childhood on the Guadalupe as a Camp Mystic girl.

They met on a blind date set up by one of Amye’s friends in Dallas. “She said my fiancé has a friend who just moved back from Chicago, and I’m going to have to put you together for a dinner party,” remembered Amye. 

The relationship developed slowly as they went to a lot of wedding parties together.  Jeff, being more thoughtful and introverted, kept his feelings to himself until he took Amye to meet his family one Thanksgiving. “I said, so just curious, do you like me. And he said, ‘I’m taking you to Thanksgiving,’” she noted. He may have been shy, but he describes her as the most giving person he knows who tirelessly helps friends and family. 

Jeff recalls going over to Amye’s condo where she’d be busy cooking and fixing hors d’oeuvres for them to enjoy. “I just remember that standing out as a great memory,” he said.

“There’s a food theme here,” Amye laughed. “Jeff is so genuinely, authentically kind and he’s funny. People think he’s quiet but he’s very funny.”  

True, but also there’s a deep camaraderie the couple exudes. You can tell they are simply happy in each other’s company. Even after 33 years together, they are still going strong. It’s the slow burning embers that last, Amye points out. 

After only being married for a few months, they ventured off to Oregon because Jeff had the opportunity to lead a beef processing and export company in Portland. The intent was to only stay out of state for a few years, but in the blink of an eye, 29 years had passed when they heard the siren’s call of the Texas Hill Country beckoning them home. 

Their three amazing children are all adults now and live across all three coasts. There’s Tatum, who is 30-years-old and recently married to Patrick Quinn. They live in NYC where Tatum is an associate partner with Bain Consulting; Rawls, a 27-year-old Austin data analyst with AMD; and finally, Forrest, who is 24 and lives in Los Angeles working for CAA, a music talent agency.

“On a visit to San Antonio for a friend’s wedding in March of 2020, we came out to visit Jeff’s sister and in-laws, along with our niece, who lives in Cordillera. We had lunch on the patio overlooking that view, and we were sold. We went back to Oregon and dreamed of sunshine, oak trees and music on the patio,” recalled Amye. 

They returned for a family weekend later that summer and did some “tire kicking” with Cordillera Ranch agent, Vance Waller, and found a lot that Garner Homes built their beautiful “empty nester” house on. 

Amye, who launched her career in advertising after graduating from Vanderbilt University, is now a business owner and runs an executive recruiting company called Edrington Johnson Recruiting. “I ran it from the West Coast for 30 years. My business partner is in Dallas, so it’s nice to be closer,” she explained. 

Besides working full-time and entertaining as much as possible, the couple is active in a variety of Cordillera groups and activities including a couple’s Bible Study group. Amye can often be found on the pickleball court, and volunteers with Charity Chicks, a neighborhood group that partners with local non-profits. She’s also attempting to improve her golf game with Chicks & Sticks at the Club. 

Whereas, Jeff likes to take advantage of the Golf and Gun Clubs, and enjoys reuniting with his Alpha Tao Omega fraternity brothers for their annual dove hunt. He also volunteers for The 1017 Project (a charitable organization focused on providing high protein, nutrient dense ground beef to food pantries) when he isn’t traveling to California and Asia for meetings as the V.P. of Export Sales for Harris Ranch Beef Co. You’ve probably had a taste yourself, as the company supplies beef to Texas’ renowned grocery store, H-E-B. 

“Nobody knows I also like to road bike,” said Jeff. “In Oregon, I used to cycle all over the state.” 

Their daughter’s recent wedding, which included a luncheon and groom’s golf tournament at the Club, and had them marching through the streets of Boerne with bagpipes, took up a lot of their free time, but hopefully you’ll soon spot Jeff riding the roads around the Ranch. No matter what though, the couple still makes time for each other and their extensive family. 

“Our family is important to us; the kids are important to us,” explained Amye. “At first, we were nervous about relocating. We wanted them to call this home, but the kids love it here and can’t wait to come down whenever they can.”

“If you build it, they will come,” Jeff quipped, who’s known to throw steaks on the grill the first night of a visit from family and friends. “The cows make the steaks. I just grill ‘em.” Amye and the family refer to these kinds of comments as “Jeffisms,” by the way. 

Although the guest room is rarely empty, Jeff and Amye have one child that still lives at home — what some might refer to as their fur baby, they simply call him their “favorite child.” Emmitt is a miniature Australian Sheppard that likes to go on hikes around the Ranch, particularly the Guadalupe River. 

“We walk the dog over to Swede Creek Park and let him play in the river. We like to go for walks together at night before dinner,” shared Amye. 

Exploring the Texas Hill Country, enjoying the burnt orange sunsets and discovering new vineyards for wine tastings, not to mention barbecue joints, are also the couple’s favorite pastimes. “We go out on a Saturday to try the best barbecue. He rates the meats and I rate the sides,” added Amye. Sounds like a match made in heaven! They’ve compiled a list of favorite barbecue places they’ve researched, which is another thing you might want to ask their advice on.

While Jeff and Amye’s first year on the Ranch was spent settling in and wedding planning, they are grateful to be back at home in Texas. “We have met such amazing, lovely people here at Cordillera Ranch — dear friends and family — that we feel so blessed to be a part of this special place,” smiled Amye. 

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