Page 31: First of all, how did you become a chef and break into the culinary field?
Chef Max: Well you know, I started in high school just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I thought I was going to go to the NBA. I was a great basketball player in high school. Really that thought was my passion and my niche, and it really was. I played ball in high school and college, but while I was in high school I figured why don’t I pursue something else as a back up plan. Started in the field when I was 16 and I just ran with it. I got a scholarship to go to Johnson and Wales and play basketball, so it was a win-win.
P31: So how did you go from breaking into the field, to becoming Amar’e Stoudemire’s personal chef?
MH: I started with various different clients over the years. I started Chef Max Miami, which is my personal catering company and from there we began catering for many different athletes and celebrities. From there one client leads to another client and one player leads to another player. I got a chance to cook for Amar’e in L.A. when he got traded from the Phoenix Suns to the New York Knicks. I was there for two weeks and he offered me a job after that and from there it was history.
P31: What is your signature deal-closing dish that you know people are going to eat and hire you for?
Chef: I would probably say all of them (laughs). Probably one that goes—we do a think called azabuko. It’s a veal or lamb shank, which is brazed with a nice risotto so that’s one of the dishes. For Amar’e he loves Barbeque beef ribs, and that sealed the deal for him so those are my two favorites.
P31: On a daily basis what are some of the meals you prepare for Amare?
Chef: We juice everyday which is one of the key components of keeping him healthy. So we juice every morning—beats, carrots, apple. A lot of salads, a lot of greens. A lot of fish of course. Just a lot of things to refuel him because they burn a lot of calories.
P31: A lot of people look at someone like Amar’e Stoudemire and they aspire to be in the kind of physical shape that he is in. What are some of the items you suggest people should stay away from?
Chef: Definitely a lot of stuff that’s fried, you want to stay away from that. You know there’s definitely different alternatives, instead of fried have baked chicken; pan searing items as opposed to deep-frying them. But you know all the candies and breads that are really fattening. Bread is something I’d definitely try to stay away from.