This is Maximilien Jean.
Maximilien is 30 years old. He speaks French, English, a little bit of Spanish and used to read Arabic. He is from Montreal, grew up mostly in the Eastern part of the island and spent most of his teenage in Hochelaga where he now owns his restaurant: Le Flamant . Max studied history and political science at university and did his masters on African history.
Maximilien’s first job in the hospitality industry was at a St-Hubert rotisserie back when he was 16. He then worked as a line cook in big restaurant chains, as a barista for Starbucks and small student cafés, as a chef busboy at Buena Note (if you knew this place you understand that this is an actual title) and climbed up the ladder at Le Petit Medley, where he started as a busboy and ended up manager.
It was at Le Petit Medley that Max got into the world of cocktails. The owner would buy so many fruits on special that the chef couldn’t use them all. Max would take the left overs, incorporate them once a week. Not a bad way to start isn’t it?
Following Le Petit Medley, he worked at Le Jockey where he had carte blanche to play and create original cocktails. He did his try and errors there for 3 years before he met Manu Ruiz that was opening Le Royal, now one of Montreal’s best cocktail bars. He joined Manu and was on the very first team when they opened. He stayed there for 2 years before he left to open his own place.
If you have ever been served by him or if you have seen him perform at one of the many cocktail competitions he took part in, you certainly know that he is one of the most creative and hospitable bartenders out there. Opening his own bar was never something that he wanted to do. The only reason he did it was because one day 2 cooks he knew well to be as creative and passionate as he is approached him with a truly unique project that instantly resonated. After a year and a half of experience, Max assures us that it is way more work than he ever thought it would be, but that he doesn’t regret any of it. If you haven’t met him yet, we highly recommend you do and visit Le Flamant, he’s quite an interesting cat to chat with.
A little bit more about...
♦ One thing he has achieved on his life bucket-list:
To go to Africa. He went to Senegal twice and it was definitely a game changer both times.
♦ His biggest strength as a bartender:
His creativity. He is very strong to think outside the box. He once made judges drink pork blood martinis at a cocktail competition.
♦ What he likes most about being a bar owner:
That he can do what he wants. That he can keep his own approach and his personality, that he can bring his authenticity to the whole service experience.
♦ The quality he likes most about an employee:
The passion. He has a professional moto saying that everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you make up for it that matters. If you have passion, you will make up for it. If you don’t, there is really no point in doing it.
♦ One advice he offers to future bar owners:
Not to be afraid to make mistakes. To actually conceptualize your project knowing that whatever you do you will make mistakes, that chances are that 2 weeks after you open you might want to tear it all apart and start anew, whether it be regarding the layout and design of the space, the menu conceptualization, how you built your team, anything really. You will make mistakes and it’s ok. Knowing that will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders.