Zuri, Executive Chef Roland Park
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: Raspberry White Chocolate Pancakes
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: "You can use a cast iron skillet for everything from Frying and Braising to Sautéing and Steaming!"
Fun Food Fact: "Tortillas, salsa and guacamole are some of my favorite snacks!"
Zuri, the Executive Chef of Miss Shirley’s Roland Park location, has had a lifelong passion for cooking, which began when she was just a child! Her parents loved to cook, and were always happy to let her experiment in the kitchen. "I learned a lot from my parents, like how to make roux."
Growing up as an avid reader, Zuri enjoyed researching recipes and watching countless episodes of cooking shows like Julia Child, The Galloping Gourmet, and Yan Can Cook on PBS. "I would request cookbooks as holiday gifts!"
After graduating from Loyola University of Maryland, she decided to try out culinary school, to see if she could turn her lifelong hobby into a career. Zuri finished her education at Johnson and Wales University in 2000, and immediately began working her way up the ranks in the restaurant industry!
She gained experience in Catering and Fine Dining, working in various establishments throughout the Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas. But in 2009, Zuri found a home in Maryland, and at Miss Shirley’s Cafe!
Although she didn't grow up in the area, Zuri considers Baltimore her home. "I love that everything from crabs to eggs gets coated in Old Bay!" In fact, her favorite food to splurge on is Lobster!
She started her career at Miss Shirley's as a chef, and was later promoted to the role of Executive Chef at our Roland Park location in 2014. Zuri has been cooking professionally for 16 years, and the creativity and experience that she brings to our culinary team is invaluable! She plays a key role in the creation of our seasonal menu and monthly specials, and leads our Roland Park cooks with ease, making sure that our team is always producing the highest quality dishes.
You may have seen Zuri on WBFF FOX45, WBAL or DC’s FOX 5 talking about our upcoming promotions, or on Miss Shirley's YouTube Channel, sharing recipes for our southern classics!
Zuri is hard working, dedicated, personable and passionate about the taste and presentation of our food. In fact, her favorite thing about being an Executive Chef at Miss Shirley's is the satisfaction of knowing how much our guests truly love our food, and appreciate the experience that they have at the restaurant. "The goal is always to make our guests happy, and I love making foods that people want to eat again and again, and even recreate for themselves!"
When Zuri is not at Miss Shirley’s, she enjoys having quality time at home. "My husband, Eric, and I have three awesome children, and I love spending time with my family, and of course, cooking for them!"
Eric, Executive Chef Inner Harbor
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: Benne Seed Chicken ‘N Waffles – “Our House-Made Peppadew-Jalapeño Butter is the best!”
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: "I couldn’t live without my chef’s knife & sauté pan!“
Fun Food Fact: "Some of my favorite foods are Pork & Brussels Sprouts!”
Eric’s interest in cooking started in the kitchen helping his mother, who was also an exceptional cook. “If I had to, I could probably live off my mom’s Shepherd’s Pie!” He remembers helping his mother cook for the family, especially around the holidays. “When I was young, she would let me use all of our different cookie cutters to make shortbread cookies.”
In fact, Eric’s fondest food memory is when his family took a trip to Vermont to tour the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory when he was 7 years old. “As any normal kid would do, I lost my mind! I ate way too much ice cream and got a stomach ache. But, it was totally worth it!”
As he entered his teen years, Eric’s love for food and cooking grew, and he began working in restaurants when he was only 14! “I started working at a local mom & pop diner, and kept working in restaurants all through high school, college and after.”
In 2010, Eric began working at Miss Shirley’s Cafe as a Line Cook, and was quickly promoted to a Chef position. In July of 2013, Eric took over as the Executive Chef of Miss Shirley’s Inner Harbor location, but continues to be an asset to all 3 of our restaurant locations. He continually contributes his innovative Menu Ideas for our Seasonal Dishes & Monthly Specials that keep our guests coming back time and time again.
Born and raised here, Eric has always considered Maryland his home. “I love that you can drive 3 hours and be at the beach, or in the mountains. Everything you could want to do is within a short drive!”
And as a Baltimore-native Eric’s favorite local ingredient is, of course, Old Bay! But no matter the ingredients he is using, Eric loves sharing his talents by cooking for people. “If it’s something that they love, then it’s a favorite of mine to cook,” Eric says.
Eric is proud to work at Miss Shirley’s and loves getting feedback from our guests! “When I meet people for the first time and tell them what restaurant I work for, they always have great things to say! It is gratification that the effort we put in each and every day is paying off and making people happy.”
When Eric is not at Miss Shirley’s, he loves spending time on the golf course! In fact, he will be showing off his swing at the local Greater Baltimore Committee’s Golf Classic next month.
Ubences, Executive Chef Annapolis
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: Cuban Huevos Sandwich
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: "You can cook without tools, but not without creativity!”
Fun Food Fact: “One of my favorite meals to cook at home is Bistec a lo Pobre – it’s a delicious Peruvian dish!”
Originally from Guatemala, Ubences came to the United States with little knowledge of the restaurant industry, or even of the English language! When asked why he pursued a career in the culinary field, his answer is simple: “I love to eat!”
Although he has not had any formal training, Ubences worked his way up in the restaurant industry. "I started working in restaurants and it got me interested in cooking. I would watch the chefs, and practice on my own."
He began working with The Classic Catering People in 2005, as a Utility Worker, and then as a Prep Cook in the Baltimore Ravens kitchen! A year later, he was hired as a Line Cook at Miss Shirley's original location in Roland Park, and was later promoted to a Chef position.
In Spring 2015, Ubences took over Miss Shirley's Annapolis location as the Executive Chef, and has now been cooking for a total of 11 years! “Every day I get the opportunity to learn new techniques and work with great people.” In fact, Ubences began taking English classes, to help improve the communication between our culinary team!
As one of our original team members, Ubences has found a home at Miss Shirley’s Cafe, and in Maryland. “There are many reasons that I love living in Maryland - I get the chance to develop my culinary skills, and there are so many beautiful places to visit!”
However, he still remembers the delicious dishes that his mom used to cook for him in his home country. "I love tamales! They remind me of my home in Guatemala." At home, he also enjoys cooking Mexican tacos and Bistec a lo Pobre - a delicious Peruvian dish.
"You can cook without tools, but not without creativity," he says! Ubences now plays a key role in developing new dishes for our Monthly Specials & Seasonal Dishes, and our entire team is overwhelmed with pride to have seen him grow into the outstanding chef that he is today.
When Ubences is not at Miss Shirley’s, he loves spending quality time with his son!