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Max Brenner isn’t ashamed of his unconditional love of chocolate. “I can’t go a day without chocolate,” says Brenner, whose real first name is actually Oded.
In 2009, the Israeli-born Brenner penned a book of recipes — a kind of ode to all things chocolate — entitled “Chocolate: A Love Story.” In it, he draws similarities between his relationship with chocolate and a long-term love affair.
Brenner is first and foremost the Bald Man of Max Brenner, Chocolate By the Bald Man, an ever-expanding chain of restaurants that focuses on all things sweet. Sure, the restaurant serves savories (a couple of dishes even meld savory and sweet, such as French fries dusted with cocoa powder and onion rings served with a dark chocolate ranch sauce), but the desserts garner most of the attention. Customers go crazy for the chocolate fondue (recipe below), chocolate egg rolls and chocolate pizzas (there’s even a very popular chocolate syringe).
The Max Brenner chain began as a store in Ra’anana, near Tel Aviv, in 1996. In Israel, Brenner is a bona fide culinary star, a true chocolate icon. But his empire now extends to 34 locations worldwide — including Australia, the Philippines and Singapore. There are three locations in the U.S. — one in New York, one in Las Vegas and one in Philadelphia. A Boston restaurant is set to open in two months.