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I want to share UGK's message with everybody through the food. I think that's the main thing... I grew up fully believing that everybody should love everybody. [UGK] instills that in how they treat their employees, how they treat guests, how they treat communities like the kids that get the food through Community First.

UGK Sous Chef

Cooking holds a significant place in Eli’s family tradition. His mom would always have hot meals ready, and on summer weekends, Eli would visit his grandparents' camping trailer to enjoy freshly caught and cooked fish. 

Getting his career started at a small-town restaurant in Farmville, Eli decided to drop out of college to pursue a career in cooking. The lowkey joint specialized in country classics  – ribs, sandwiches, shrimp and grits – building a strong foundation that would eventually allow Eli to harmonize with Chef Steve’s Southern-rooted culinary style. 

Prior to joining UGK to work alongside Chef Steve, Eli spent a few years at Yellow Umbrella Provisions, where he honed his culinary talents under the guidance of Chef Greg Comstock. Chef Comstock played a pivotal role in imparting essential culinary skills to Eli.

Interestingly, Eli's journey at UGK began by chance. He spotted Chef Steve while he was working, as Steve had come in to purchase some meats. Eli introduced himself, expressing his eagerness to lend a hand. Following their introduction, Chef Steve decided to bring Eli on board, and now, the two collaborate in the kitchen on UGK dining events.

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