Dean James Max comes from a dynasty of foodies. His grandfather, for many years a chef at an upstate NY resort, opened a much-loved bed-and-breakfast in Cape May. Dean’s father, himself a New Jersey farmer’s son, started his own farm on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Dean says he has fond memories of the bounty, both earthbound and marine, of Chesapeake Bay: “Growing up in this environment gave me an early insight about freshness and how foods work together.”
Moving with his family to Stuart, Florida, Dean became a student at Florida State University where he earned a BSc in Marketing, with a Hotel and Restaurant Management minor.
After college, Dean enrolled in The Florence Study Centre, Italy, and spent a season there, ‘making his bones’ in the cooking trade. “It was in Italy that I confirmed my love for food, and for natural cooking”.
With his newly acquired skills, recipes and commitment to cooking, Dean returned to the United States. There his classical training, coupled with his precise cooking technique, underpinned his passion for creative cooking as well as his keen understanding of the importance of fresh ingredients.
His cooking career soon took off, working first at Brasserie Savoy, in San Francisco’s boutique Savoy Hotel followed by positions at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room in Pentagon City, Washington, DC; Gerard’s Place, downtown Washington, DC; and the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, GA.
By now a seasoned professional, Dean became executive chef and co-owner of the much-loved Atlanta restaurant, Mumbo Jumbo. From there he was coaxed back to the West Coast being named executive chef of the wildly popular Woodside, in Brentwood, Southern California.
Success brought an offer from the giant Marriott hotel group to create his own restaurant at one of its most prestigious properties, the Harbour Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
3030 Ocean, a unique dining concept, is today one of South Florida’s most celebrated restaurants and one that Dean delivers “an experience that treats the taste through all senses”.
With many appearance on the Food Network, authorship of the book ‘Life By the Sea’, Dean has won wide recognition, including: Best Chef in South Florida, 2005, Boca Raton Magazine Best Chef South Florida, 2006, National Restaurant Association James Beard Recognized Chef.