yes chef operations manager smiling in front of storefront

The local marketplace celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 27.

Located on the first floor of the SMC Campus Center, in what was previously known as The Market at UMB, is the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) newest breakfast and lunch option: Yes Chef! at UMB.  

Yes Chef! at UMB aims to be a local marketplace for the University community, offering healthy and affordable snacks, coffee, smoothies, and meals such as specialty salads, hot paninis, sandwiches, and wraps. The marketplace also has partnered with local vendors such as Taharka Brothers Ice Cream and Pfefferkorn’s Coffee to bring a diverse selection of products to UMB. 

At their grand opening on Feb. 27, the Yes Chef! team welcomed crowds with free soup and chili samples, free cookies, and their varied menu. Students, faculty, and staff noted the eatery’s fresh ingredients, speedy service, and friendly staff. “It’s great to have a place where I can get healthy food between classes, without going off-campus,” said one student.  

Yes Chef! at UMB is open Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

A Significant Milestone 

The opening of Yes Chef! at UMB marks a significant milestone in the Campus Center’s plan to reimagine the dining and catering experience within the building.  

In March 2023, the building’s retail food service and catering agreement with the previous vendor ended. While the transition expanded catering options for events held in the Campus Center, the subsequent closure of The Market at UMB left the Campus Center without a dining option in the building.  

“We know that a lot of UMB community members rely on the Campus Center to purchase meals and snacks,” said Patty Alvarez, PhD, MS, chief student affairs officer and vice president. “As we searched for a permanent dining option, it was important that we provide alternative food options to minimize the impact of not having in-house dining, especially for students.” 

As a temporary solution, the Campus Center introduced vending machines, including Farmer’s Fridge, which offers fresh and healthy vending choices. Additionally, UMB Student Affairs formed a dedicated advisory group to explore the future of dining and catering services in the Campus Center.  

Led by Jimmy Heiner, MS, director, facilities and operations, UMB Student Affairs, and Kay Lewis, MS, director, Event Services, the advisory group brought together students, faculty, and staff from across the campus to draft recommendations for dining and catering within the building. After ensuring that their recommendations represented the diverse needs and expectations of the UMB community, the group’s leaders shared their recommendations with UMB Student Affairs leadership.  

According to Bill Crockett, MS, RCRSP, assistant vice president, UMB Student Affairs, the decision to partner with Yes Chef! aligns with the advisory group’s recommendations. “As a local, woman-owned business that emphasizes sustainability and whose principles align with UMB’s core values, Yes Chef! emerged as the ideal choice to enhance the campus dining experience,” Crockett said.  

It’s beneficial that the owners, husband-and-wife Chef Clint Roze and Jodi Roze, have professional experience in higher education. As former higher education practitioners, they understand the unique needs of a university community and bring that expertise to Yes Chef! at UMB. 

Yes Chef! may be new to the UMB campus, but it has served the Baltimore community since 2019. Yes Chef! began as a prepared meal service before expanding to a commercial kitchen and retail marketplace. Yes Chef! at UMB will be its second brick-and-mortar location, with the first located at McHenry Row in Locust Point.  

The Future of Dining and Catering in the Campus Center 

The opening of Yes Chef! is a crucial element in the ongoing reimagining of dining and catering in the Campus Center, but it’s not the only update. In February 2024, the Campus Center’s Event Services welcomed its first assistant director of catering. The newly established role aims to strengthen the relationship between UMB and local catering companies and help event planners manage the process of hosting a catered event within the Campus Center.  

Event planners remain encouraged to use the Campus Center’s diverse array of authorized caterers, including Yes Chef! at UMB, who are also available for catering across campus. To connect with Event Services regarding catering, contact

Stay tuned for additional updates as UMB Student Affairs continues to elevate the dining and catering experience at UMB.  

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