Steve Chu

June 26, 9:00am - 10:00am EDT. Hosted at Your Home!

part of a series on Identity

About the speaker

Steve Chu was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, and eventually settled in Montgomery County with his Taiwanese parents. Although his father is a chef, he discouraged Chu from following the same path. As he studied economics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Chu realized that his dream was to open his own restaurant. While volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, he met his future business partner Ephrem Abebe. After graduation, Chu learned on the job in the kitchen and on the floor at Petit Louis Bistro working for Chef Ben Lefenfeld. He also worked for Harold Dieterle at Kin Shop as a line cook and spent summers helping out at his family’s restaurant, Jumbo Seafood.

In 2014, Yesupriya, Abebe, and Chu opened Ekiben, an Asian fusion fast-casual stand in a farmers market. In 2016, Ekiben moved into a brick-and-mortar space in the Fell’s Point neighborhood of Baltimore City. Chu’s goal with the cuisine of Ekiben is to create a space for anyone, from any demographic, to try something different. In Baltimore, a city deeply divided along economic and racial lines, Chu aims to make everyone feel welcome “one bun at a time.”

In 2017, Travel & Leisure named Ekiben the best place to get a sandwich in Maryland. In 2018, Eater nominated Chu as a semifinalist for their Young Gun Awards. Chu is also involved in Youth Works, a summer program for teens in Baltimore that provides job training and mentorship. He has more concepts in the pipeline for the Charm City—with different food but the same community-oriented ethos.

Local partners

Additional details


URLs for the event will be sent in two emails. The first email on Thursday evening around 7pm ET. The second email will go out Friday morning around 8am ET.

Zoom: Download (for free!) ahead of time at

YouTube: Go to our YouTube page at 9:00am ET on Friday morning, no download necessary.

🚩Check your spam folder: Don’t see an email from us closer to the event time? Please be sure to check you spam folder and also feel free to email us directly at

🌈 LET’S HAVE FUN TOGETHER ☕️ BYOM: Join us with our ongoing sustainability effort to Bring Your Own Mug (BYOM)! Make sure your favorite mug is clean for Friday morning and be ready to hold it up!

🎉 Be EXTRA (or not!): This is a safe space to be EXTRA. Show up in your favorite outfit or hat! Create a background (virtual or analog)! Do all of the above! Or just come as you are - in some soft clothes and in a “lived in” space. Everyone is creative and everyone is welcome!

ASL Interpretation We’re excited to incorporate American Sign Language at this month’s talk thanks to our friends at HASA. Below are the steps to access ASL on Friday and we’ll also review this during the event.

Find the sign interpreter: Once you’re logged in and tuned into the event, find our sign interpreter and thumbnail labeled, “.ASL - Dawn”. Select the three dots […] in the corner and click “Pin.”

Rename yourself: For anyone who’d like ASL, hover over your own thumbnail, select the three dots […] in the corner and click ‘Rename.’ Please put ‘.ASL’ in front of your name. Example: (.ASL - Kira)

Please email us if you have any questions or concerns