President and CEO, Mise en Place / Chair, VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors
Maryann Ferenc has spent her lifetime in the restaurant industry, beginning her career in her parents’ restaurant in Detroit as a bus girl. A passionate advocate for independent businesses, Maryann established Mise en Place in 1986, along with co-proprietor Chef Marty Blitz.
Maryann received a degree in theater from Wayne State University, while managing a gourmet health food restaurant. In an effort to use her minor in theater management, she left the restaurant business and worked as an assistant to the director of Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. During her time
there, Maryann worked in the food and beverage department and founded the hospitality division.
Maryann helped introduced New American cuisine to Tampa Bay and was involved in the downtown renaissance when she moved Mise en Place to Kennedy Boulevard at Grand Central Avenue in 1992, occupying a space that dates back to the early 20th century. Mise en Place is now Tampa’s premier restaurant for Modern American cuisine, 30 years later.
Maryann’s charitable work involves feeding the hungry while actively supporting downtown and Tampa’s independent businesses network. A visible and powerful presence in Tampa Bay, Maryann is indelibly linked to multiple community organizations, including Feeding America Tampa Bay, Taste of the NFL, Visit Tampa Bay, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Independent Business Alliance and Tampa Downtown Partnership.
“Mise en Place is really a combination of passions which, over the course of 30 years, have built a life I’m happy to live. Marty, myself, my parents (rest their souls), our staff and clients make us the restaurant company we are today,” Maryann said, “and I do not lose sight of that.”
Maryann served three two-year terms on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board which advises the Secretary of Commerce and the President. In that role, she was co-chair of the drafting team for the Board’s recommendations regarding the USA’s Five-Year Tourism Strategy. Maryann also sits on the US Travel Association board, is past chair and current member of Visit Tampa Bay and current board member and chair of VISIT FLORIDA in 2017. As co-chair of the Start Up Scholars Committee of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and a member of the University of Tampa Entrepreneurial Center Advisory Board, Maryann continues to work to improve the landscape for small business in Tampa Bay.
Maryann is the proud recipient of numerous awards, including the eWomenNetwork of Tampa Bay’s 2009 Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2009 Lou Groza Let’s Kick Hunger Award, the 2011 Tampa Bay Business Journal Businesswoman of the Year award and the 2014 Gonzmart Family Ambassador of the Year.