Retirement hasn’t been easy for Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix. He’s tried twice, but says he didn’t enjoy it much either time. Last month he announced a new partnership with local caterers Max & Me, who it turns out he had been working with as a consultant almost from the moment he bid adieu to his namesake restaurant at The Rittenhouse hotel in 2008. That restaurant he opened shortly after retiring from an 18-year run at the Four Season’s Fountain restaurant. “I always enjoy the teaching aspect of my job,” Lacroix told Grub Street. “After consulting for two years, training their staff, I accepted Max & Me’s offer to become a partner.”
The new job offers some excitement, Lacroix told us. “It’s great for me,” he explains. “Catering is new for me, so it’s a new challenge. A challenge is not boring, is it?”
Between stepping away from The Rittenhouse and signing on fulltime with Max & Me, the 69-year-old chef kept himself busy bicycling, traveling and working as a private chef for his wife. “She took good care of me for 40 years,” he said. “It is my time now to take care of her.”
This Thursday, June 3, Lacroix will lead Gusti d’Italia, a cooking demonstration and small plate tasting at the National Constitution Center, which coincides with its exhibit Ancient Rome & America. Following that he will participate in a charity dinner at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on June 6 that benefits the Cardiovascular Institute of Philadelphia, and will turn up again at the Vetri Foundation’s Great Chefs Event benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand on June 15.