Chef Dean James Max




“My love of food comes from living in Florence, Italy; my techniques learned from working with French chefs and my understanding of what freshness is all about from growing up on a farm in Virginia.”


One would never have had to meet Chef Dean James Max to feel his passion. Respected as one of the foremost seafood provocateurs, Max grew up on a small farm minutes from the rich shores of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay.

“There’s something about the water that is magical to me,” Max muses in the introduction to his cookbook, “A Life by the Sea: the Atlantic Ocean” (released in April 2006).  “My love of food is fed from the fond memories of smells and tastes of my childhood.”

The farm-to-table mentality is not a movement Max has followed, but a diligence as chef that he feels is owed to his industry.  The memories of his teenage years, spent fishing and cooking with his chef-grandfather on the Jersey Shore and the hands-on experience learned from his father, a produce broker, resonate in his food.  Complementing the culinary influences presented by his family, his adolescent years spent living on a farm in Virginia helped Max understand seasonality and the importance of supporting locals.

His modern American take on seafood and cuisine as a whole has been noted as “stylish” and “tongue-tingling” by Gourmet Magazine and the James Beard Foundation recognized Max as a “Great Regional Chef of America.”

Max is a chef/owner of six restaurants and the President of DJM Restaurants, which specializes in restaurant concept development and ongoing management.  He has celebrated the launch of many destination restaurants since 2008, the first being Latitude 41 in Columbus, Ohio followed by the Brasserie in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands;  AMP 150 in Cleveland, Ohio;  Asador in Dallas, Texas;  3030  Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,  and later this year, Parallel Post in Trumbull, Connecticut.  He has also refurbished the food and beverage at Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys, and built concepts in Palm Beach and Baltimore, MD.  His next project under construction is a Southern California concept located in Long Beach, CA. and plans to open in March of 2013.



Chef Max continues his dedication to his farm-raised roots in his latest venture, Parallel Post at the Trumbull Marriott Merritt Parkway (“Trumbull Marriott”) slated to open November 2012.  The menu offers bold and flavorful ingredients indigenous to the land of the Northeast region.  Max will educate the locals on food crafted with integrity, aiming to evolve the New England palate through the support of the region’s best purveyors. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a daily changing menu and a majority of items priced under $25.
Max has appointed Chef Christopher Molyneux, who was with the hotel’s Executive Chef in its previous restaurant operation.  He will oversee all day-to-day operations on-site.


At 3030 Ocean, Chef Max created an ever-changing menu resplendent with fresh seafood and offering a five-star level of cuisine and service.  Here, diners will find a raw bar, with offerings changing nightly.  Guests then journey through a dense menu, rich with simple, yet delectable salads, soups and entrees made with the freshest ingredients available.  Like the raw bar offerings, Max changes the menu nightly, blending traditional favorites, such as halibut and Florida snapper, with more offbeat selections, including monchong and opah from Hawaii and John Dory from New Zealand.  Regardless of what he’s working with, Max stays true to his goal of keeping things fresh, simple and delicious, from the tomatoes he imports from California to succulent oysters fresh from the coast of Washington.  “Great meats and seafood don’t need to be marinated to be flavorful, just prepared in a way that pays honors them.”  To that end, Max eschews creamy and heavy sauces for light broths and opts for more healthful sides including sweet and sour tiger eggplant, Asian greens, fresh hearts of palm and sea beans, to name a few.  Of course, heartier options, such as goat cheese polenta abound, “Like the ocean, at 3030 there’s something for everyone,” Max philosophizes.


On the line of Latitude 41 in Barcelona, Spain, Columbus landed with culinary treats from the New World.  As the Queen waited in excitement of these amazing finds, you can imagine the anticipation of what was to be enjoyed.  In celebration of these discoveries, Max’s Latitude 41 shares that same passion, providing a culinary journey through the use of the amazing products that the modern world has to offer.  In the quest to return to a world of natural, fresh and pristine ingredients, Latitude 41 seeks-hand-crafted products and utilizes the talents of American artisans.  Max’s cuisine is based around the simplicity of locally grown vegetables, free range meats and naturally raised poultry. 


(A)merica’s (M)odern (P)alate  at 150th street hit the culinary stress of Cleveland in fall 2009. The first year after opening, Cleveland magazine gave AMP 150 “Best New Restaurant for 2010” and Chef Dean James Max, “Best New Chef.” Just like the power of a screaming 150-watt fender amp, this restaurant rocks with the excitement in an open space, which offers creative cuisine, handcrafted drinks and an upbeat rock & roll playlist.  AMP 150 offers 200-seats and serves tasty selections all priced under $20.  For chef, being “green” is not only a given, but also a way of life.  The restaurant marries its farm-to-table approach with its own one acre garden, located in the parking lot behind the hotel and also compost’s its own soil.

The Brasserie restaurant has been a culinary fixture in Georgetown, Grand Cayman for more than thirteen years and is a marriage of Max and founding-owners, Clarence and Lisa Flowers.  In 2010, the Brasserie was renovated to include an organic garden for the restaurant, a new state-of-the-art exhibition kitchen, a fishing boat that ensures fresh catches from the sea and a marketplace. The market offers Caribbean-inspired cuisine with made-to-order salads, European-style sandwiches, healthy hot food specialties and the islands best coffee.  The Brasserie boutique seats 65 and offers unique-to-the-island chef series where world famous-guest-chefs come to cook for a weekend.  Chef Max has trusted the daily chef duties to his prodigy, Niven Patel, who has opened numerous restaurants for Max.

Asador brings a new level of quality and creativity to the culinary landscape of Dallas.  Max brings in restaurant chef, Brad Phillips, a long time veteran of the DJM Company, to oversee his farm-raised-rooted Asador. Offering a bold and flavorful menu featuring modern American cuisine with a Latin flare, the Spanish word Asador, translates as “grill master.”  The intimate casual eatery is based on a farm-to-fire theme using seasonal local ingredients prepared over an open flame, using mesquite wood.  Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Asador’s menu is comprised of Texas and Latin American-inspired specialties with “snacks” for sharing as well as “market” and “large plates” selections for guests looking for a full dining experience.  Visitors to Asador’s Tequila Bar can indulge in a discerning selection of more than 100 tequilas and several specialty cocktails, including seasonally-changing margaritas made from fresh squeezed juices served with your choice of tequila.  The full bar also includes local-Texas beers as well as selection from Central and South America.


2012 Advisory Board for the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

2010 Crowned King of American Seafood after winning the Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans representing the state of Florida

2009, 2010, 2011 Finalist for Best Chef of the South, James Beard Foundation
2005 Boca Raton Magazine voted Chef Max “Best Chef” in south Florida.
2005 Readers Poll for New Times resulted in 4 awards for 3030 Ocean…Best Seafood, Best Service, Best Raw Bar, Best Broward Restaurant
2006 National Restaurant Association voted Chef Max Best chef of South Florida
2006 3030 Ocean received Best Seafood Restaurant, and Chef Max Best Chef
2007 Best Chef South Florida, Fort Lauderdale Magazine
2008 Best Chef Boca Raton Magazine
2009 Best Chef South Florida, New Times Magazine
2009 Chef Chair for Taste of the Nation
2007-2009 Best Seafood Restaurant South Florida by Gold Coast Magazine
2008-09 Board member at large Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
2005-2009 Board member of the Seafood & Aquaculture Advisory Board reporting to the Department of Agriculture
2004-2009 Sponsored by the Wild American Shrimp Organization
2008-09 Board member for the culinary division of the Art Institute, Fort Lauderdale