Competing at a national level. Improving your life. Changing the world. It’s not professional sports. It’s the culinary arts.
Maxcel Hardy recognized at an early age the similarities between sports and cooking. Like most of his friends growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Hardy had dreams of becoming a professional basketball star. And while he was a competitive basketball player, he quickly realized that sports were not his ticket to a better life.
“I started taking classes in the Culinary Arts Program in high school. My teacher, executive chef Edward Bujarski, had traveled the world as a chef. He inspired me to pursue it as a career,” said Hardy. Hardy began competing in cooking competitions at the city and regional levels. He was granted a culinary scholarship. “It was an easy transition from sports to the culinary world,” he said.
Today, Chef Max has transformed his competitive spirit into an entrepreneurial one. His Chef Max Miami catering company serves clients in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Clients include award-winning music artists, actors, professional athletes and dignitaries. And his Chef Max Designs company works with local tailors and designers to create modern, professional chef apparel.
But his true passion is still rooted in the community. As the founder of One Chef Can 86 Hunger Foundation, Hardy educates people on America’s hunger crisis; and teaches families and communities how to access healthy, cost-effective food. The foundation also provides programming within schools and community centers.
“If you can change one thing in your diet, you can make a difference in your health,” Hardy said. “Parents and families should shop together, cook together, and help each other change diet and eating habits.”
Today, Chef Max is focused on inspiring healthy eating, healthy living and empowerment through food. He also helps judge the youth cooking competitions that he credits for changing his life. “Becoming a chef wasn’t the cool thing to do where I was growing up. I didn’t see a lot of African American chefs. So I’m proud to stand up and show kids what you can achieve in the culinary arts,” he said. “Now, it’s definitely cool.”
Chef Max Hardy is a private chef, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has prepared dishes for world-famous clientele, grown two successful companies and made an impact on America’s hunger crisis.
His clientele includes award-winning music artists, actors, professional athletes and dignitaries. From 2009 through 2014, Mr. Hardy was the full-time personal chef for NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire. During his tenure with Stoudemire, the two coauthored a cookbook called Cooking with Amar’e – 100 Easy Recipes for Pros and Rookies in the Kitchen.
Mr. Hardy is the founder of Chef Max Miami, a catering company that specializes in a range of American, Asian, Caribbean, French and kosher cuisine; and employs chefs in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Outside the kitchen, Mr. Hardy created Chef Max Designs, a line of chef apparel; and founded One Chef Can 86 Hunger Foundation, an organization that works to raise awareness and fight the hunger epidemic in America.
He currently serves on the board of directors of Opportunity Charter School in Harlem and is a member of the Food Bank for New York City’s Culinary Council. He has competed on The Food Network’s Chopped; and has been featured in Bon Appétit and Essence magazines, on Good Day New York and MSNBC, and in the New York Post.
Mr. Hardy continues to excel in culinary arts and has no desire to stop, hoping with each dish he creates people will be able to "taste his dedication to excellence in every bite.” Learn more at chefmaxhardy.com.