24. Dean Max of DJM Restaurants

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New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous Tastemakers are listed at the end of the post.

Ask any foodie in South Florida about the most influential chefs in the area and one name is sure to come up. For more than a decade, Dean Max has been churning out a new generation of South Florida chefs at his seafoodcentric 3030 Ocean at the Marriott Harbor Beach in Fort Lauderdale. Renowned chefs Paula DaSilva of 1500 Degrees at the Eden Roc and Lauren DeShields of Market 17 are just a couple of big names that have rolled through Max's kitchen doors.

Before farm-to-table became the new buzzword, Max and his protégés had been focusing on changing the palettes and consciousness of South Floridians with sustainably sourced local seafood and local produce for years. While Max is busy overseeing his small empire of restaurants, he instills a sense of enthusiasm for doing things the right way in all of his chefs. South Florida's food scene would not be moving along as quickly as it is without Max's tutelage and influence.

The most influential person in my career has been...

My mother: Without her confidence-building, I wouldn't have been able to have my conquer-the-world mentality.

When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...

Reese's peanut butter cups and a glass of milk.

What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?

Waterfront restaurants.

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?

Caesar salad.

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?

Fishinado -- a raw bar and small seafood plates on the Intracoastal.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

On a 45-foot sailboat Skyping one of my many chefs as I mix a rum punch.

Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?

My parents. I miss them; they have both passed away a while now, and I would like to eat with them again. And the rest of my family.

30. Robyn Almodovar of Palate Party Food Truck

29. Chris and Jordan Bellus of Laser Wolf

28. Fulvio Sardelli of Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse

27. Brett Chiavari of BC Tacos

26. Mike Halker of Due South Brewing

25. Chrissy Benoit of the Little House Boynton Beach

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.