At Max's Wine Dive in downtown Fort Worth, there's a new chef in the kitchen: Jenna Kinard, who brings restaurant industry experience and a passion for hospitality.
Kinard replaces Victor Villareal, the restaurant's former sous chef who stepped into the job following the March 2016 departure of original chef Stefon Rishel. Villareal joined Texas Christian University in a corporate position.
Kinard's passion for cooking developed at an early age while re-creating Czech family recipes passed down from her grandmother. But her big break came while working for a catering company serving meals to rock 'n rollers on the road.
Kinard says that her background is "a little all over the place," from her days on tour to cooking at area restaurants such as Dalton's Corner in Burleson.
"Probably the coolest thing I’ve done was cooking with musicians on tour," she says. "My husband is a musician, and I went to visit him while he was on the Warped tour. The company that was doing the catering for Warped also did tours for big names like Justin Bieber and Beyonce. They were catering for Taylor Swift when one of the chefs broke her leg. Word got around that I was a chef, so they asked me to join the remainder of that tour. It meant signing up for two-and-a-half months, but I thought, when will an opportunity like this happen again?'"
She joined Max's in October 2016. "I just fell in love with the concept and with every person in this place," she says. "There's the set menu, and then all of the chef collaborate on new items."
Her career as a chef follows what was a difficult, life-threatening battle with anorexia nervosa.
"I used food to conquer and overcome my demons and fell in love with it at the same time," she says. "I’m able to express myself, my background, and my family history through every dish I create. It’s a true art form for me that I use to touch each guest."