Chef Maximillian Manthos was Born and raised in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York. He learned from his formative years the wonder of food, cooking and family. Raised in a home with both Sicilian and Greek heritage, “food meant everything.” “For us, a meal signified many different things such as a way of gathering to celebrate, a lesson on skills, a peace offering or a way to heal the sick. I have spent so much time in the kitchen on my own and learning from family members, but the most nostalgic lessons were from my grandparents. At an early age, they taught me how to catch, grow and cook my own food. "
“My grandfather would teach me old family recipes, and the concept of dock to dish. As a young boy, one of my earliest memories was heading down to the Marina with a bucket, hook, line and sinker to catch fluke and blowfish and net crabs. True dock to dish style, we then fileted and cleaned our fish to later prep for dinner. So primitive and simple, it was truly the freshest way to eat.”
“My grandmother, on the other hand, taught me how to plant a garden and grow my own vegetables. We would make the freshest most delicate tomato and basil sauce that would simmer for hours and emanate throughout the house. It was one of the easiest recipes with the simplest of ingredients but took a lot of time and love. That fresh sauce smell still triggers good memories. I’ve learned so much down the line from many generations of my family from cookies to pastitsio, tsoureki and moussaka for Greek Easter. The next step was deciding what direction I wanted to go with food. With the positive influence of family, I ended up at The Culinary School at the NY Institute of Technology.”
After graduating, Max got his first job at his Aunts Patisserie in Babylon, to learn the art of baking. Starting from ground zero he worked as a dishwasher to later become a prep assistant to creating recipes and eventually learning the precision of baking. After a few years of baking, he decided to expand his repertoire and skill set and get back into cooking. He landed a job at a French based high-end restaurant in Bay Shore working a station that prepared appetizers and desserts. There, he learned under a team that was highly skilled, and focused. After a few years, he was eager to yet again expand his skill set, challenge himself and step out of his comfort zone. A surfer and lover of all things seaworthy, he found himself in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here is where he worked as a line cook at The Original Roy’s, 12th Ave. Grill, and then later helped open Salt Kitchen and Tasting Bar as pastry chef. After a few years surrounded by sun and surf and invaluable learning in various kitchens, under some amazing chefs, he decided it was time to return home and get more rooted with family again. He was an easy hire with the skill set he had acquired over the years. Shortly after being home, he landed an opportunity as Chef De Cuisine to help open a high-end waterfront restaurant on the South Shore. After many years under an amazing Chef, he felt it was time to grow into his own role as Executive Chef of Salt & Barrel.