Cheryl Tiegs in Charlotte for restaurant launch

03/04/2014 5:18 PM

03/05/2014 9:46 AM

They’re a cute couple, Rocco Whalen and Cheryl Tiegs.

He’s 36, chef and owner of the new Fahrenheit Restaurant in uptown Charlotte; she’s 66, one of the original supermodels, the first to appear twice on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

During a break Tuesday afternoon between grand-opening events at Fahrenheit (which opened for dinner Monday night), the pair couldn’t stop showering praise on one another.

Whalen: “I think we’ve done a really nice job – ”

Tiegs, interrupting: “He’s being modest. He only has thousands of people who are calling for reservations for the next couple of weeks.”

Whalen, later: “She’s a phenomenal person. I’m a better chef, entrepreneur, person, just for having the opportunity to spend time with her.”

Tiegs, on his food: “I only asked for three bowls of his chicken last night. Only three.”

Whalen and Tiegs are clearly friends, but it’s also a business relationship (and besides, he’s happily married to Alexis Dankovich-Whalen): The former swimsuit model is a spokesperson for Cambria Quartz, a type of stonework that Whalen also has used in his six Cleveland restaurants.

Tiegs, who calls L.A. home, made her first visit in Charlotte to do meet-and-greets on back-to-back nights to help launch Fahrenheit, which sits on the 21st floor of the new Hyatt Place building at Caldwell and Third streets. It is uptown’s only rooftop restaurant.

She also mingled with fans after a photo shoot with Whalen Tuesday morning at the Ritz-Carlton, and was mostly unfazed by the blast of winter that’s welcomed her here.

“I loved it (Monday),” Tiegs said. “It was drizzly and cold, and I just loved it. I get a little bored with 72 and sun every day.”

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