Chef Patrick Broadhead: Cooking to the Max at Burt & Max’s

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Chef life was a long time coming for executive chef Patrick Broadhead. Thankfully for us, he never strayed from his gut feeling that he belonged in a kitchen, and brings his serious knife and palate-pleasing skills to a restaurant in our backyard.

“I was 11 or so and going to a week-long summer Boy Scout camp,” Patrick said. “Days before I left, I cut my hand pretty badly and required about eight stitches. Therefore, most activities were suddenly out of the picture, so I spent the entire week in camp cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, and had a great time doing it! I honestly believe this is when a seed was planted within me.”

When he was 16 years old, Patrick started working in pizza and sub shops and later found himself at the Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. where he instantly fell in love, enrolled the following spring and the rest is history.

After a 20-year off-and-on stint at Max’s Grille in Boca Raton, he landed the executive chef spot at Burt & Max’s in 2016 where he put his own spin on the already established menu. He sought to provide some of the classics, maybe with a twist, but also introduce some newer ideas to the menu as well.

“Today’s diner is certainly more conscientious about what they are consuming, from gluten-free diets to lighter, healthier options, as well as vegetarian/vegan choices, so all of that played a part in the design of the menu,” Patrick said.

While the most popular menu item is always the Prime 10 oz. Special Blend Burger, the other main contenders are the “Onion Soup” Dumplings, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Margherita Pizza and Sixty South Salmon. For him, though, it’s all about the Korean Steak Bowl. Modeled after Bibimbab, the dish has grilled steak, sautéed spinach with shiitake mushrooms, crunchy vegetable slaw, steamed rice, a fried egg, and fresh avocado. “The flavors are bright with many textures and temperatures that can play across your palate on many levels.”

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With all of his hard work creating the perfect menu, he knows that the Dudes have his best interest at heart. “Having a delivery service that takes pride in their work and genuinely cares that the food arrives in ‘restaurant condition’ is everything to me. It’s an extension of us and we feel confident that items will arrive in the best possible condition,” Patrick said. “For me, the best part about working with Delivery Dudes has been the feeling of accomplishment as I’ve seen [them] grow from one location to multiple areas across the region. When I was at Max’s Grille, we were one of the first big accounts and I take a sense of pride knowing that we might have helped, even in the smallest way, with the success and growth of Delivery Dudes.” We appreciate you, too, Patrick, and know you know all about growth and hard work.

He describes most days at the restaurant as controlled chaos, but also very fun and rewarding. He considers the team as pretty tight-knit, so that’s a bonus, too, when someone accidentally drops a plate or a four-top turns into a 14-top.

“To me, the best part about being an executive chef was always about the satisfaction from a busy night, knowing that we kicked ass and hundreds of people are happily satisfied,” Patrick said. “But it has also given me the opportunity to travel and eat in some of the best places on Earth.”

Not a bad gig. Eating fine food for research purposes? Count us in.

Before kids, he and his wife used to travel to the Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco area, aka “the Mecca of the culinary world in America” and would walk through French Laundry’s garden, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and eat at some of the best restaurants this country has to offer. Now, you’ll find him at some of his favorite local spots: KYU in Wynwood enjoying Asian-inspired barbecue, or Chill & Grill Pita in Boca Raton eating all the shawarma he can get his hands on.

When he’s not eating, cooking food, or thinking about cooking food, he enjoys his free time with his wife Sil and their two awesome boys, Luca (8) and Ben (3). Finding the balance between his personal and professional life has become increasingly more important to him because of his family, so while trips are more local, they also enjoy a mix of home-cooked meals and a hefty amount of take-out.

He does, however, have the National Restaurant Association Show in May of this year, so is excited about that. We should be, too, considering we’ll more than likely be living vicariously through his travels with the next Burt & Max’s menu.