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HomeNewsMichigan Chef Maxcel Hardy Dies at 40 Under Unknown Circumstances 

Michigan Chef Maxcel Hardy Dies at 40 Under Unknown Circumstances 

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Michigan Chef Maxcel Hardy Dies at 40 under Unknown Circumstances
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Famous Detroit chef Maxcel Hardy died mysteriously on Monday, March 4, 2024. His death came as a massive shock to many as he had no announced ailments or conditions. He was only 40 years old. 

A family spokesperson, David Rudolph, confirmed Hardy’s passing but revealed no apparent cause of death. Through him, the family asked “Detroit for prayers and privacy at this time.” Rudolph also told Detroit News that Hardy was looking forward to the long-awaited opening of his seafood restaurant, What’s Crackin’, at the time of his death. 

The black American chef was renowned in Detroit and across the country for his many outstanding dishes. He owned and operated several eateries around the city, including the shuttered Caribbean-Soul restaurant River Bistro, Coop Detroit, and Jed’s Detroit.

Hardy started his career after receiving training at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami. As a native of Detroit, Michigan, he was determined to give back to his community. There ago, he founded the nonprofit One Chef Can 86 Hu about a decade agonger.

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The award-winning chef told The Detroit News in 2021 that his charitable work was natural. Due to his struggling childhood when his family lacked resources and food, he was determined to help others going through the same thing. 

“I just want to make sure if anybody’s hungry, we’re going to feed them,” he told the news outlet. “But also teaching kids how to do the same thing and understand how food grows, where it comes from, how to spend money, and how to save and do this with their family.”

During his lifetime, he worked as hard as he could on that goal. He also collaborated with multiple culinary-focused charities in addition to his own. His great work earned him a lot of recognition in Michigan and the country as a whole. 

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In addition to The Detroit News naming him one of the Michiganians of the Year, they also presented him with the Angelo B. Henderson Community Commitment Award. 

The New York Times also recognized him as one of the ’16 Black chefs changing food in America.’ In his interview with the outlet, he noted that he was proud of his work in Detroit and its impact on the food life there. 

“‘Growing up in Detroit, you didn’t see chefs and restaurants elevated like that. It was Motor City, not Food City,’ he said.

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In addition, he has a goal to open more restaurants and employ community members. He said this to Eater Detroit in a 2022 interview. “My goal is to always open restaurants in the inner-city to help employ the community while providing great food,” Hardy said. 

“I find that though it may be easier to open in a larger suburban area, it’s typical and would only serve myself. Food is at the center of everything, and I want to create restaurants that help sustain communities in need. I also try to show you can open successful restaurants in your hometown.”

His death saddens the community, and people have been paying their respects since the news broke. He is survived by two beautiful daughters. 

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