Come for the food and stay for the view.

The Seafood Shack Marina, Bar & Grill has been a Cortez landmark since 1971. Accessible by both land and sea, The Seafood Shack has a 68-slip marina, a bar & grill with an outdoor waterfront patio and a 6,000 sq.ft. event space to hold up to 425 guests. The Seafood Shack’s mission is to ensure that each and every guest receives fast and friendly service, to always sell fresh, delicious seafood and to preserve that Old Florida Feeling.

Meet Our Staff

Gerard Jesse, Executive Chef

Gerard Jesse was born in Hamburg, Germany. Jesse graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 2009. Jesse’s background includes positions at some of the area’s most acclaimed restaurants including Culinary Supervisor at The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, Sous Chef at Jack Dusty and Executive Sous Chef at Michael’s on East. Chosen as one of Sarasota’s “Most Innovative Chefs” by SRQ magazine, Jesse was also selected as one of just four chefs to represent The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota and cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City in 2013. Since joining The Seafood Shack Marina, Bar & Grill as Executive Chef, Gerard has created a new menu that features casual American cuisine with a Gulf Coastal seafood sensibility.

Desiree McCullough, Restaurant Manager

Seafood Shack, LLC is proud to have Desiree overseeing the day-to-day operations of the 180-seat restaurant and bar. Desiree joined the Shack Staff in 2017, bringing with her over 12 years of management and food& beverage operations experience, in both front- and back-of-house positions. Originally from Sarasota, FL, Desiree earned her business degree from Saint Leo University. Her background and proficiency in Dietary Management - from her time as Food Service Director at a rehab center – provided a natural fit at The Shack, where we happily cater to the needs of guests with dietary and food restrictions. Desiree also worked with the Anna Maria Island Chiles Restaurant Group from where she brings a passion for initiatives supporting sustainability, local sourcing of products, and protecting our world’s resources. Desiree is a hands-on manager and considers herself “a creator of excellent customer service” and “is driven by the guest’s overall experience.” Most importantly, she has the love and support of her husband Steve. They have two beautiful boys Ethan and Michael and are a family that truly enjoy their beach days in the sparkling waters of Gulf of Mexico.

Liza Kubik, Director of Marketing & Events

Liza Kubik is a native Floridian and was born and raised just up the road from The Seafood Shack in Tampa. A graduate of the University of South Florida with a BA in Communication, Liza was most recently the Director of Public Relations at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. She has had an established, successful career with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, as well as the independent Colony Beach & Tennis Resort on Longboat Key. Prior to hospitality, she spent 10 years in retail management with Williams-Sonoma Inc. Liza has a solid understanding of the travel industry as well as hotel and food & beverage operations. When not at work, Liza enjoys cooking and experimenting with new recipes, especially with her husband Ken.

Brandy Hudson, Event Manager

Growing up in Bradenton, Florida, Brandy Hudson has always loved coordinating parties and get-togethers. It was after helping to plan her own high school prom that she realized her true talent and passion for event planning. Brandy graduated from the University of Central Florida where she majored in Event Management at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and most recently worked as Clubhouse Coordinator at IMG Academy. Brandy is passionate about customer service and building relationships and believes there is nothing more fulfilling than planning an event that everyone loves! When she’s not working hard to ensure wonderful and stress-free events for her clients, Brandy loves being active, baking, and spending time with her high-school sweetheart/husband and their new puppy Boomer.