Last month, you had a chance to learn about Miss Shirley's Executive Chefs, so we thought it was about time to highlight the rest of the Chefs, who are a part of our fantastic culinary team!
Lenny, Chef - Roland Park
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: “I could eat our Southern Slammer every day!”
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: “I got to have my sauté pan and Chef’s knife!”
Fun Food Fact: “I love all foods, but if I had to pick a favorite, you can’t go wrong with Pizza!”
Lenny’s interest in cooking started at an early age. “Food was definitely a big part of my upbringing. At all of our family gatherings, food was the centerpiece – everyone brought a dish!” As a child, he loved cooking up snacks for his friends & enjoying time with his mom in the kitchen.
In fact, Lenny says that his favorite food memories revolve around his mother’s holiday meals! “My mom would make so many Christmas cookies! And around Thanksgiving, she made these delicious little stuffing cakes that were pan fried in a little butter.”
Now, Lenny loves cooking at home, and grilling up fresh veggies like sweet summer corn - his favorite local ingredient! “ I cook anything and everything on the grill!”
When it comes to food, he loves it all, but if he had to pick a favorite, it would probably be pizza. Actually, his first job was at a mom and pop pizza & sub shop, at the age of 15. “I loved it! Since then, I have only held two non-restaurant jobs.”
He went on to pursue a degree in Culinary & Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales, and came to us with over 12 years of kitchen experience! Joining Miss Shirley’s Cafe as a Chef in 2014, Lenny has effortlessly become an integral part of our culinary team.
He always jumps at the opportunity to assist in any way possible, and continuously looks for ways to improve our kitchen procedures. Lenny is a fantastic Chef, and his creative and delicious soups are always a hit with our guests!
As a Pennsylvanian, Lenny makes the drive to Roland Park for work each day, but he loves being part of a team that takes pride in preparing beautifully presented plates and delicious dishes. “It’s all about the Shirley’s pride! I’m proud to be a part of a team, who continuously strives for perfection!”
When Lenny is not at Miss Shirley’s, he enjoys spending time with his son. “Since the weather has been warmer, we love going to the park and shooting some hoops together on the basketball court!”
Andres, Chef - Roland Park
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: Benne Seed Chicken paired with Raspberry White Chocolate Waffles
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: “I could absolutely not live without my grill, tongs and a whisk!”
Fun Food Fact: “I put avocado on everything I eat!”
For Andres, family and food always went seamlessly together. “When I was younger, my family had cookouts every weekend in the summer!” Although he was raised in Annapolis, Andres remains very connected to his father’s home country, Ecuador.
In fact, his favorite food memory was during his first visit to Ecuador, where he tried the local barbecue. “I was young, so I had only tasted American barbecue before then. I remember being amazed by how similar, yet different the two styles of cooking were!”
Andres loves trying new foods, but some of his favorites are pasta and sushi. At home, he loves spending time trying out new recipes and ingredients, but still finds himself drawn to the delicious Ecuadorean dishes like plantains and tortas. “My go-to recipe is definitely tostones, or twice fried plantains!”
Although Andres has always been drawn to cooking, his first experience in the restaurant industry came from working in a few mom and pop sub shops, at the age of 18. Then, in 2012, he began his career with Miss Shirley’s Cafe as a Line Cook at our Annapolis location.
From the beginning, Andres showed great enthusiasm and interest in one day becoming a Chef. He mentored under the Executive Chef to gain experience at all of our kitchen stations, and was promoted to a Chef position in 2015.
Andres says his favorite thing about working at Miss Shirley’s is the atmosphere, and the team. “I’ve met some great people, and learned a lot from them!” Of course, he also loves the delicious food! His favorite is our Benne Seed Chicken, paired with sweet Raspberry White Chocolate Waffles. “I love the combination of sweet and savory. I’ve tried Chicken ‘N Waffles other places, but it’s just not the same!”
Raised in the area, Andres loves living near the Chesapeake Bay. When he is not at Miss Shirley’s, he enjoys spending time outdoors during the summer months, going crabbing or playing soccer & golf with his siblings. And, of course he loves grilling up some fresh corn and cracking open a bushel of Maryland Crabs to share with family & friends!
Mikey, Chef - Inner Harbor
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict – “I love the mixture of flavors!”
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: “I always cook with a pot and spatula, but I couldn’t go without a cutting board!”
Fun Food Fact: “When it comes to food, I like almost everything! I love trying new dishes and experimenting with new flavors.”
Growing up in Peru, in the port of Callao, Mikey always enjoyed the beauty and culture of living near a port city. Having lived in the U.S. for over 7 years now, he finds that he loves Baltimore for the very same reasons! “It’s beautiful. There are a variety of local museums, restaurants, entertainment, and many happy faces!”
But when it comes to cooking, Mikey’s interest in the culinary arts began back in Peru, in his mother’s kitchen! He always remembers walking into the kitchen and smelling the delicious foods his mother would cook for their family. “I always loved to help my mom cook. I think that helped me a lot to achieve my dream.”
One of Mikey’s favorite dishes from his home country is Ceviche – fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and seasoned with chopped onions and local spices. At home, he also loves throwing a few steaks on the grill for his family, or cooking up rice and potatoes with a light and fresh dressing for the summer.
After moving to the U.S., Mikey worked at a few restaurants, before joining the Miss Shirley’s Cafe team as a line cook in 2010. Then, in early 2015, he was promoted to a Chef position at our Inner Harbor location. Now, with about 9 years of cooking experience, Mikey is a vital part of Miss Shirley’s culinary team!
“I think personally, when I came to work here, I felt like I was family. It motivated me even more to follow my dream of becoming a Chef!” Mikey’s passion and determination shows in his work, each and every day. He has become a mentor for many of our culinary team members, and he brightens the room with his kind smile and positive attitude!
Mikey loves to experiment with different fresh ingredients and spices in the kitchen, but his favorite Miss Shirley’s dish is the much-loved Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict. “I remember one busy day when I had to prepare over 150 Crab Benedicts! I’ll never forget that.”
When not working at Miss Shirley’s, Mikey is a family man! “I love to spend time with my family, and my daughter. She loves when we go out to eat or to explore the city!”
Steven, Chef - Inner Harbor
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: “I love our Chesapeake Club with Jumbo Lump Crab Cake & Shrimp Salad!”
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: “Tongs are amazing! Whether you’re picking up ingredients or pulling something out of the oven, having a good pair of tongs is a lifesaver!
Fun Food Fact: “If I see steak on a menu, I have to order it!"
Steven was first introduced to restaurant industry through his father, who was a butcher. “I learned how to cut and cook meats at an early age.” As a child, he remembers always wanting to help his father in the kitchen, but never wanting to do the dishes afterwards!
However, Steven’s first real job in the food industry was at a seafood processing plant, making Chesapeake Bay Gourmet Crab Cakes, at the age of 16. “The crab cakes were featured on QVC, and we were always busy!” Since then, Steven worked his way up the ranks in the restaurant industry, with a total of 15 years cooking experience.
In 2010, he was hired as a Line Cook, and was then promoted to a Chef position in 2014. Steven has become an asset to our entire culinary team, traveling between Miss Shirley’s three restaurant locations, whenever needed. He is hard working, dedicated, and comes to work each and every day with a smile on his face!
Steven says that his favorite thing about working at Miss Shirley’s is the people! “Most people work with strangers, but I consider the Shirley’s team my family. There is not one person I work with that wouldn’t go out of their way to help me.”
And although he has grown tremendously since his early days in the seafood plant, Steven still loves Maryland Crab Cakes. His favorite Miss Shirley’s dish is our Chesapeake Club with Jumbo Lump Crab Cake & Shrimp Salad! But when it comes to fresh seafood, Steven has his limits. “My least favorite food is fish – I could never last on a deserted island!”
At home, Steven likes to keep it simple, and loves pairing easy proteins with fresh veggies! “One of my favorite dishes to cook at home is oven roasted chicken, mashed potatoes & corn mixed with peppers and onions.”
Every now and then, though, he likes dining out and enjoying a hardy steak! “Once, I went to a restaurant at Cedar Point in Ohio, and ordered a 36 oz. steak. I ate the whole thing - but let’s just say dessert was off the table.”
He may have completed his foodie feat in Ohio, but Steven wouldn’t trade living in Maryland for the world! “I’m a diehard Orioles fan! And I love being by the Chesapeake Bay, and close to the beach!”
When Steven is not working at Miss Shirley’s, he loves spending quality time outdoors with his fiancée. “We love to go hiking, camping, and white water rafting. And of course, we take every opportunity to go to Camden Yards, to see our guys win!”
Jeremias, Chef - Annapolis
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: Shirley’s Affair with Oscar – “I love Crab & Steak together, and the combination of the Fried Green Tomatoes, Grits, Asparagus & Hollandaise is the best!”
Favorite Kitchen Utensil: “You can cook almost anything in a good sauté pan!”
Fun Food Fact: “I could eat Pupusas every day!”
Growing up in El Salvador, Jeremias was surrounded by excellent cooks, including his parents! “When I was a kid, I would play with my brothers and friends at the park after school. We would always get hungry and go to our little neighborhood restaurant where my Mom would cook us delicious food!”
One of his favorites was his mother’s Pupusas, a Salvadoran dish made with corn tortillas that are filled with ground pulled pork, cheese and beans, served with tomato sauce and a special shredded cabbage mix with carrots, jalapeños & vinegar. “I miss my mom and how she would cook!”
Although his mother was a fantastic chef, Jeremias first started cooking with his father, in the bakery that he owned in El Salvador. “Since I was a kid, I would help my father bake the sweet breads, muffins, donuts, cookies and cakes we sold in the bakery.”
Jeremias enjoyed working in his family’s bakery for about 10 years before coming to the United States. He gained skills working as a carpenter for a few years, before deciding that the kitchen was where he really wanted to be! From there, he started working his way up the ranks in some local restaurants around Maryland. In 2012, Jeremias began his career at Miss Shirley's Cafe as a Line Cook, and he was soon promoted to a Chef position at our Annapolis location in 2015!
Now as a Chef at Miss Shirley's, Jeremias is an integral part of our culinary team. He collaborates with the Executive Chef to develop Monthly Specials, and creates many of the Chef's Selection Soups that are featured at our Annapolis location each day! He is creative, hardworking, dedicated and passionate about making the best quality food to serve to our guests.
He says that his favorite thing about working at Miss Shirley’s Cafe is our attention to detail and the communication between our team members. “We work together as a team, trying to do our best to cook delicious food and have our guests leave happy and healthy, so they come back again!”
When Jeremias is not at Miss Shirley’s, he loves spending time with his family around Maryland. “We always enjoy summer vacations at the beach.” And when he’s not soaking up the sun, he is cooking yummy meals for his family. He says, “I like making pasta and meatballs at home – my kids love it!” We can’t wait to see what delicious dishes Chef Jeremias will whip up next!