There are two places where Max DeMar feels at home — the football field and the kitchen.
Not exactly what you would expect from a rugged football player, but the Carson High School senior loves to cook, and he’s pretty darn good at it. He’s been a part of Penny Reynolds’ culinary program since his sophomore year.
“Ever since I was young I loved cooking,” said DeMar, who’s a back-up inside linebacker for the Senators. “I heard from my brothers that Carson had a culinary program.
“The first day of school my sophomore year I told her (Penny Reynolds) that I wanted to compete. A lot of the practice dates were during football season, but she decided to allow me to be there and try out.”
And, DeMar has experienced some success, both as an individual and part of a team.
As a Culinary I student, DeMar and some classmates were entered in the Pro Start contest. It requires the group to make two appetizers and two desserts in 60 minutes without using running water or electricity. Two butane burners were all that were allowed. The group won the state competition and then placed seventh at nationals.
DeMar was part of a different group last year, and that group won a state title. Unfortunately, the group didn’t do as well at nationals.
“You’re only allowed to do Pro Start two years,” DeMar said. “I went to the Skills USA competition as an individual last year and placed third in regionals. I couldn’t do state because of a conflict (with football).”
DeMar isn’t the only football player Reynolds has taught, but he may be the best.
“I’ve had lots of football players in my classes,” Reynolds said. “Max is probably the most devoted of any player I’ve ever had. He could (have a career), but the big question is if he wants to. He is looking into the Secret Service. Max has a strong passion in food service. If food is his goal, he’ll do well. You have to have a passion for it or it will eat you up. Max works very hard, and he’s unbelievably smart.”
DeMar hasn’t ruled out a food career. He visited Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, which is one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the United States, Reynolds has sent several students there.
“Johnson & Wales is a super place,” DeMar said. “I liked the area. Rhode Island is a cool place. They (the school) are good with money in terms of scholarships.”
DeMar likes New American cuisine, which is usually found at more upscale eating establishments in the United States.
New American cuisine, according to Wikipedia, is generally a type of fusion cuisine which assimilates flavors from the melting pot of traditional American cooking techniques mixed with foreign and sometimes molecular gastronomy components. New American cuisine features innovative use of seasoning and sauces. Originally based on French, Nouvelle, and United States cuisine, New American has since progressed to include elements of Asian, Latin American, Mediterranean, and other cuisines.
Again, there are other things out there.
“I like foreign affairs,” DeMar said. “I’m interested in current events.”
DeMar saw some action as a junior last season mostly on special teams, and he’s worked his way into the two-deep depth chart as an inside linebacker behind Justin Tschetter, who transferred back to Carson after a year at Galena.
“He is in the mix,” coach Blair Roman said. “He has improved a lot from last year. Max may play significantly and possibly start if Justin can’t go. The hard work he has put in has shown on the field in his ability to get off blocks and play with more confidence and aggression.”
“Max committed himself to the weight room in the offseason,” said CHS defensive coordinator Steve Dilley. “Pound for pound he is one of the strongest players on the team.”
DeMar takes the kudos in stride.
“I’m doing better I guess,” said DeMar, who did a lot of scout team work last season. “I just play hard every play.”
Dilley said playing “mike” linebacker is new for DeMar.
“It does not come instinctual to him, so he continues to work every day on his reads.”
Tschetter’s situation is up in the air. Carson is waiting for Galena to fax a document to the school. If the situation isn’t resolved, he’s not going to play Saturday night.
DeMar plays on kick and punt return squads, and figures to contribute in that role again this year.
“He will be a special teams stalwart for us this year,” Roman said.