Max Hardy, who helped bring a new level of accessible but chef-driven cooking to his native Detroit, and who was widely considered among the most promising of a young generation of black culinary stars, died Monday. He was 40 years old.

His publicist, David E. Rudolph, announced the death but did not provide the cause or location. He said Mr Hardy had been in good health until the weekend.

Although born in Detroit, Hardy moved with his family to South Florida when he was young. As a budding chef, he drew on the region’s Latin American influences, as well as his mother’s Bahamian heritage, and mastered dishes like pork ribs, fried plantains, and salt fish and ackee, Jamaica’s national dish. He combined those influences with a deep love for South Carolina Lowcountry cuisine, like shrimp and grits, fried fish, and Hoppin’ John.

After more than a decade as basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire’s private chef, followed by a few years working in New York City kitchens, he returned to Detroit in 2017 to open a series of high-profile restaurants, including River Bistro, Caribbean Fusion Cooperative and Jed’s Detroit, a pizza and wing shop.

He worked constantly and with the energy of an entrepreneur. He had his own lines of chef clothing and dried spices. He partnered with Kellogg’s to bring plant-based products from the company’s Morningstar Farms brand to restaurants like his. And he appeared regularly on Food Network shows like “Chopped” and “BBQ Brawl.”

Until recently, Detroit was a fine dining desert, with few options beyond fast food and chains. But in the 2010s, a wave of young chefs like Hardy began to alter the city’s image.

“He had kind of a reputation as the personal chef of a very prominent NBA player, but I found out that he came back to town with very little ego,” he said. Kiki Bokungu Louya, chef and executive director of the nonprofit Detroit Food Academy. “He was really keen to find out who was already doing the work on the ground.”

He founded his own non-profit organization, A Chef Can 86 Hungry, which raises awareness about food insecurity and healthy eating, especially among young people. During the 2019 government shutdown, he offered free lunches to laid-off federal workers; During the pandemic, he opened pop-up kitchens to feed at-risk Detroit residents.

“When I can go into a kitchen and prepare meals for 500 or 1,000 people, it gives me energy and gets me out of the daily grind of the restaurant,” he told The Detroit Free Press in 2021. “It’s actually peace for me. cook for a couple hundred people and give back. And feeds the soul. It feels very good to do it.”

In 2017, The New York Times named Mr. Hardy one of “16 Black Chefs Who Changed Food in America” (Ms. Louya was one of the others), not only for his skill in the kitchen but also for his willingness to push the boundaries of the kitchen. what defines a successful haute cuisine chef.

“Growing up in Detroit, you didn’t see chefs or restaurants elevated in that way,” he told The Times. “It was Motor City, not Food City. Now I can invent a dinner based on the recipes of Hercules, a slave who was George Washington’s personal chef, I can have my restaurant, and I can teach the children of the community. There are many more ways to strive for greatness as a chef.”

Maxcel Hardy III was born on December 5, 1983 in Detroit and moved to Tampa, Florida, as a child. His first love was basketball, but a high school injury ended his dreams of a serious career.

His high school had recently opened a culinary arts program and he soon found himself under the mentorship of its principal. She worked at Ruby Tuesday after school and won a scholarship her senior year to continue her education at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami.

At age 21 he was executive chef at a Miami-area country club and within a few years he had his own luxury catering company. From 2009 to 2014 he was the full-time personal chef for Mr. Stoudemire, who primarily played for the Knicks in those years. The two published a cookbook, “Cooking With Amar’e,” in 2014.

He is survived by his mother and two daughters.

Hardy’s first restaurant in Detroit, River Bistro, closed after a few years, but by then he had opened two more. He was working at a third party, specializing in fish, when he died.

“My goal is always to open restaurants downtown to help employ the community while offering great food.” Hardy told the website Eater Detroit in 2022. “I think while it may be easier to open in a larger suburban area, it’s typical and would only work for me.

“Food is at the center of everything,” he continued, “and I want to create restaurants that help sustain communities in need. “I also try to show that you can open successful restaurants in your hometown.”