Massimiliano (Max) Alajmo was a third-generation restauranteur, joining his family’s cooking tradition when he was old enough to work in a kitchen. He went to a school of restaurant management in Italy, then joined the kitchens of chefs Alfredo Chocchetti, Michel Guerard and Marc Veyrat.

Finally, he returned to his family’s kitchen, joining his brother to take over the business. Max took control of the kitchen of Le Calandre, and before you knew it, at age 28, the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars. Max was the youngest chef to ever earn such honors.

The family business has since grown to operate three restaurants in Italy — Le Calandre, Quadri and La Montecchia — as well as three Il Calandrino bistros, abc Quadri and abc Montecchi. And the recently opened Caffe Stern is the family’s first foray into Paris.