Benefit Planned For Las Vegas Food Critic Critically Injured In Hit-and-Run

Max Jacobson

Max Jacobson

Shortly after the piece about my recovery from a traumatic brain injury ran on WHYY/NewsWorks’ Pulse show, I received an email from a friend of Las Vegas food critic Max Jacobson.

He’d been critically injured in a hit-and-run several days before Christmas (the driver was chased down after briefly leaving the scene).

The Vegas food critic suffered a large contusion on his right frontal lobe and a smaller one on his left frontal lobe. “These are concerning because those who suffer from a bi-frontal brain injury have a much harder time repairing the damage than those battling them on one side or the other,” she writes.

Max’s friend Marina happened upon the Pulse story, which chronicled what Max will soon face as he recovers. Seems as if doctors will soon take Max out of his medically induced coma (a couple days longer than it took my doctors at Cooper to do the same).

In the meantime, the Las Vegas chef community has announced a big fundraiser to help in the coming months, much like a great group of friends did for me and my family not knowing whether I’d ever walk again.

Here are the details of that Jan. 19 event. If you’re in Vegas — or know anybody from Vegas — please take a look and, if able, help Max out:

The Nation’s Most Celebrated Chefs to Participate in the First Fundraising Dinner of Many for Critically Injured Food Journalist Max Jacobson

LAS VEGAS (January 2014) – A group of the country’s most acclaimed chefs will collaborate on the first “Chefs to the Max” dinner at Chef Rick Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Bay on Sunday, Jan. 19. The dinner will be the first of a series to benefit critically injured Las Vegas- based food journalist Max Jacobson. The first dinner will be hosted by Chef Rick Moonen, who will be joined by the following chefs (in alphabetical order):

• Akira Back
• Megan Bringas
• Bruce Bromberg
• Kim Canteenwalla
• Barry Dakake
• Susan Feniger
• Hubert Keller
• Thomas Keller
• Grant MacPherson
• Mary Sue Milliken
• Bradley Ogden
• Luciano Pellegrini
• Joey Romano and Megan Romano
• David Walzog
• More to be announced!

Southern Wine and Spirits will serve as the evening’s beverage and mixology sponsor.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a six-course dinner from 7 to 10 p.m. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Max Jacobson directly to help pay for mounting medical bills as a result of the accident.

“We consider Max to be a brother and when something happens to our family, we rally together for one another. So far, the outpouring has been amazing,” says Moonen. “This dinner series is meant for everyone to roll up their sleeves and help Max any way we can.”

Two days before Christmas 2013, Jacobson was struck by a car while in the crosswalk at Windmill Parkway and Pecos Road as he walked from home to the gym. He sustained severe brain trauma from the accident. He remains in critical condition at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Jacobson is currently Vegas Seven’s restaurant reviewer. Prior to that, he covered Orange County for the Los Angeles Times for 15 years. He moved to Las Vegas in 1999 to be the lead critic for Las Vegas Life. He has also written for numerous national culinary publications including Saveur and Gourmet. Jacobson recently co-authored “Eating Las Vegas” with fellow food critics Al Mancini and John Curtas.

Tickets for the dinner cost $1,000 per person and are available for purchase by calling Rx Boiler Room at (702) 632-9305 or email (Subject: Chefs to the Max). A credit card will be needed to guarantee seats.

For more information about the “Chefs to the Max” dinner series, go to Additional events will be announced shortly.

For those unable to attend the first dinner, a bank account to assist with the Jacobson family’s medical and living expenses has been set up at Wells Fargo:
Name: Setu Jacobson
Account: 3110223066
Routing: 582506501

For updates on his condition and for the community to post messages for the family, please go to (Please note monetary donations should not be made through the CaringBridge site, but rather to the Wells Fargo account directly.)

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