When he lived in Los Angeles, Max Jacobson covered restaurants in Orange County and other outlying areas for the Los Angeles Times. In 1999, he moved to Las Vegas to review for Las Vegas Life, and he is now the critic for the Vegas Seven weekly, and also co-author of the definitive Eating Las Vegas guidebook. Jacobson has never been a flashy critic, in love with the sound of his own metaphors; rather, he has built a solid reputation over the years for being thoughtful, articulate, and above all well-informed. He tends to understand the cuisines he writes about inside-out, and he has a natural gift for languages (he speaks at least a little bit of more of them than most of us could probably name) that often gives him insights into menu terminology that are lost on his colleagues. As Las Vegas has grown into a major dining capital, Jacobson has been there to report on its eating places with intelligence and authority.
On Dec. 23, while walking to the gym for a workout, Jacobson was hit by a car, sustaining severe cranial injuries, and is now in critical condition at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. It is a measure of how well-liked and respected he is in the restaurant community that a roster of well-known chefs, both Las Vegas locals and national figures who have Las Vegas outposts, has come together to host a series of "Chefs to the Max" dinners to help his family pay for his medical expenses.
The first of these will be held on Sunday, Jan. 19, at Rick Moonen's Rx Boiler Room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Participants, besides Moonen, include Thomas Keller, Hubert Keller, Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Bradley Ogden, Bruce Bromberg, David Walzog, Kim Canteenwalla, and others, with wine and cocktails supplied by Southern Wine and Spirits. "We consider Max to be a brother," says Moonen, "and when something happens to our family, we rally together for one another."
The tariff is $1,000 per person for cocktails and a six-course feast, with all proceeds directly benefitting Jacobson. Tickets may be purchased from Rx Boiler Room at 702-632-9900, or info@RxBoilerRoom.com. The Jan. 19 event is the first in a projected series of events to benefit the injured critic. For information about future dinners, see www.Facebook.com/ChefstotheMax.