Growing up in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Chef Bruce Ucán was exposed early on to the flavors and techniques of his family’s Mayan cooking. He came to the US in 1987 where he cooked in several local restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky. Entrepreneurial in nature, Chef Ucán always wanted to own his own business and create his own food. In 1996, he started a food truck business, the Gypsy Van, that sold tacos, salbutes and tamales at farmer’s markets, construction sites and festivals. Just a year later, he opened a restaurant on East Market Street called the Mayan Gypsy, which he later transformed into the Mayan Cafe, his current endeavor. Here, he fuses traditional Mayan recipes and flavors with local, seasonal ingredients. He grew up eating the fruits and vegetables grown around him and is committed to sharing this philosophy for food with his customers here.
Anne Shadle has served as the Mayan Cafe’s General Manager since helping to launch the restaurant in 2007. A trusted partner to Chef Ucán, Anne’s brother-in-law, she is recognized by customers and food critics alike for her ability to create a consistently pleasing customer experience. Whether it’s crafting a catering menu to match a client’s distinct needs, selecting boutique wines to complement the flavors of Ucán’s dishes, or leading a team of servers and managers who share her enthusiasm for knowledgeable service, Anne works with the customer in mind. Like Chef Bruce, she is professionally and personally committed to running a sustainable business.
Chef De Cuisine
Willy Ucán, Chef Bruce’s brother, has been an integral part of the kitchen and management team for over 3 years now. Growing up in the Yucatan Peninsula, he is a master of Mayan flavors and cooking techniques. He worked with Chef Bruce at his previous restaurant, the Mayan Gypsy, and over the years, has accumulated a wealth of knowledge regarding the ins and outs of a well-run kitchen. He is dedicated to sourcing quality, local produce and meats, and is respected by our farmers and purveyors for this commitment.
Christina Shadle, Chef Ucán’s wife, has helped guide the strategic direction of the Mayan Café since its inception. While she may not be present at the restaurant on a day-to-day basis, the results of her work can be seen at all times. Strongly committed to the concept of farm-to-table dining, she pointed her partners in this direction years before it gained widespread popularity. Christina advises both Bruce & Anne on areas including marketing, sales and staff development. She works full-time as the Director of Account Services for IQS Research.