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Chef Spotlight: Max Renny of CHURCH STREET TAVERN in Tribeca

Max Renny, Executive Chef at Tribeca's Church Street Tavern, is well-versed in the ins and outs of the New York culinary world. Renny began his career at New York restaurant Gonzo in 2003, then quickly worked his way up to a Sous Chef position at the West Village's Sumile Sushi before moving on to Italian-inspired Stuzzicheria as Sous Chef and Manager. Renny then moved on to become Chef de Cuisine at Southeast Asian-inspired Fatty Crew and Fatty Crab, where he designed menu items, maintained a rotating seasonal menu, and butchered all meat and fish for the restaurants. Max most recently oversaw the concept and opening of the Wild Horse Tavern on Manhattan's Upper East Side, before taking over the Kitchen duties at the Church Street Tavern.

For Wild Horse Tavern, Renny created an All-American menu, which included stand-out items like the Brick Chicken with Garlic, Rosemary, Chili Flakes, Preserved Lemon and Market Greens; Beer Mussels with Double Smoked Bacon, Beer Mustard, Pilsner and a Hot Pretzel; and the BBQ Tete de Cochon with Carolina Style Chopped Pork and Housemade Slaw on a Potato Bun. The restaurant and bar breathes rock n' roll, with a name derived from the famous Rolling Stone song, Wild Horses.

As of September 2015, Max will bring his unique twist on American food to Tribeca's Church Street Tavern. "My style tends to have a lot of those [Asian] influences: mixing lighter flavors with French techniques, using a lot of fresh herbs, brazes and brines, all those things add a nice depth of flavor to the food I like to do," he said in an interview with Metro New York. Renny has been featured in Gothamist, Time Out New York, Guest of a Guest and Metro New York, among many others. interviewed Chef Max Renny of Church Street Tavern for our "Chef Spotlight."

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

When I was 12 years old I would watch the food network and write down recipes to make for dinner that night. Since then I've been hooked.

Who were some of your career mentors?

Obviously my mother and father who had my back when I dropped out of high school after sophomore year and allowed me to pursue my passion for cooking but also chefs Vincent Scotto and Josh Dechellis who gave me my first real line cook jobs when I was a stupid teenager.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?

I'm most influenced by south East Asian cuisine and ingredients which I picked up during my time with Fatty Crew. Lots of clean flavors and unique ingredients that I tend to use a lot in my cooking now.

What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?

I feel my best feature as a chef is to get the most out of my kitchen staff. They are the heart and soul of the kitchen and if you can't keep them interested in the food they are cooking, everything will fall apart. Keeping things fresh and getting them involved in new dishes, taking ownership of the food they cook, that's key.

What is your favorite meal or meals?

Pizza. Sushi

Tell me a little about your restaurant for our readers.

Church street tavern is a great blend of tavern classics with an innovative twist of flavors and ingredients. We use a lot of delicate Asian flavors to help complement some of the heavier fare. The result is a beautifully curated, well rounded menu that guests can return to enjoy time and again.

Church Street Tavern is located at 313 Church Street (between Walker & Lispenard), New York, NY 10013. Call (212) 804-7766 or visit their web site at They are open for lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 1pm to 4pm, dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm to 11pm and Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm to 12am.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Max Renny

Editor's Note: Read our own Barry Busby's review of Church Street Tavern. /bwwfood-wine/article/BWW-Review-CHURCH-STREET-TAVERN-in-Tribeca-for-an-Incredible-Food-and-Drink-Experience-20151020

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