At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Food Network fans can watch Flower Mound resident Kris Longwell run around like a loon in an attempt to impress Guy Fieri on Guy's Grocery Games.
It isn't Kris' style, to sweat and fret in the kitchen. Back at home, on a cozy suburban street northwest of Dallas, Kris is the expert home cook and his husband is the loon — the happy-go-lucky spouse who's just happy to get fed. The two run a blog called How to Feed a Loon, named specifically after Kris' partner, Wesley Loon, but also for Kris' 30 years of adventures feeding him.
The two have decades of experience working in theater, and it's evident in their YouTube videos. Kris and Wesley met in the late '80s at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. They retell their romance hilariously, with Wesley lowering his pair of Ray Ban sunglasses down his nose to get a look at Kris those first few days. They finally talked between tap classes and have been together ever since.
They're natural storytellers, where Kris does most of the work in the kitchen while Wesley makes jokes and sticks his fingers into the pot when he isn't supposed to. Their channel has nearly 3 million views, and it's become Kris' full-time job. To Wesley's credit, he takes most of the food photos.
Beyond creating recipes and celebrating "fun, food and fabulousness" on the blog, Kris and Wesley say How to Feed a Loon is also an outlet for viewers to watch a "normal couple," as Kris puts it. They've held commitment ceremonies three times over the years: in 1992, 2007 and 2014.
"It wasn't always about proving our equal rights," Kris says, though that was also important. He laughs: "It was another reason to have a party."
In their most recent wedding (for now), Kris and Wesley won a $75,000 prize from an event-planning group wanting to throw a wedding for a same-sex couple. During the 2015 event, Kris' dad, Jerry Longwell, gave a speech that was later posted to YouTube and now has over 1 million views. It was lighthearted — poking fun at the "satin capri pants" America's heterosexual founding fathers wore — and ended passionately, with acceptance and praise for his son's choice in a mate.
What the million-plus viewers on YouTube likely didn't know is that Wesley's parents chose not to come to the wedding. It was Jerry's video, which Wesley's parents watched afterward online, that moved them to accept Wesley's sexual orientation.
"That was a pretty amazing thing," Kris says. Wesley's dad died shortly after, in 2017.
On Guy's Grocery Games, viewers won't get to see Kris and Wesley together; two-person teams aren't allowed. (And if there's only one competitor, Kris whispers, we're not putting him in the competition, jabbing his thumb at Wesley.) Food Network fans won't get to see their "normal" life, with their two-story brick house, two jumpy dogs and big kitchen where they film videos making dishes like their popular "best-ever chicken-salad." (Get tips on that in the video above.)
For Kris, going on the show solo was still an opportunity to talk about How to Feed a Loon.
Kris remembers meeting Fieri for the first time on the set in Santa Rosa, Calif. "He just said, 'I just want you to know what you're about to do is probably going to be the hardest thing of your life,'" Kris recounts.
"And we just basically fell over."
Kris calls the filming "one of the most exciting things I've ever done," but he's not sure he'd do it again. Maybe if Wesley can come along next time.
"The words are surreal, exhilarating and terrifying," Kris says.
Watch the episode of Guy's Grocery Games featuring Flower Mound man Kris Longwell at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5 on Food Network. Find their blog at howtofeedaloon.com.