Delius Shirley has been in the restaurant business since he was a child, getting his start as a dishwasher for his mother, Norma Shirley, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1978. After graduating from Colgate University in 1991, he moved to Washington, D.C. as a financial analyst but never strayed far from the restaurant world. In 1992 he moved to Montego Bay, Jamaica to open his mother’s third gourmet restaurant on the island. The restaurant received recognition around the world and Norma Shirley was touted as “The Julia Child of the Caribbean” by Vogue and other prestigious publications.
In 1994, Shirley moved to Miami, Florida where he and his business and life partner, Chef Cindy Hutson, opened their first restaurant, Norma’s on the Beach. It was immediately written up as Miami’s new hot spot with Norma’s touted as “the best Caribbean restaurant in South Florida” by publications such as USA Today, The New York Times, The Times (London) and Chicago Tribune. In 1996 they were awarded the coveted “5 Star Diamond Award, and have continued to hold that same prestigious award at their current location, the 17 year-old Ortanique on the Mile in Coral Gables.
Most recently, the dynamic power duo opened a Cindy Hutson restaurant concept at the boutique hotel, The Cliff Hotel in Negril, Jamaica and in February of 2016, they opened their newest concepts, Zest and Zest MRKT, in downtown Miami.