How’ve You Been, Max?

Max Jacobson established Vegas Seven’s culinary voice, but it was nearly silenced three years ago when tragedy struck. We caught up with our original resident food expert to celebrate his ongoing recovery.

Max and Setu. Photo: Anthony Mair

Max Jacobson, a veteran food and wine critic who has written for the Los Angeles Times and Vegas Seven, continues to recover after a 2013 accident in which he was struck by a car while walking to the gym. After sustaining brain injuries and receiving treatments at hospitals throughout the nation, Jacobson is enjoying being back in the comforts of his home in the town that loves him most. His wife, Setu, says that the support they receive from Las Vegas continues to amaze them.

“I got lucky. I have a great husband,” Setu says. “We just celebrated our 25-year anniversary.” Max met Setu during a visit to her native country, Nepal.

“We [have] been together for 28 years, and I never get bored of him,” she says. “He’s a real person, a people person. He works hard and is great inside and outside. He is the best thing I have in my life.”

Max, who is considered an authority on food, and particularly Asian cuisine, took command of many disciplines as well: Before embarking on a writing career, Setu says Max was an aspiring actor who enjoyed performing, singing and playing piano and guitar. Originally from Boston, the linguistics major also learned how to speak, read and write nearly 17 languages, Indonesian being his favorite, and has traveled to 109 countries. Setu says this was simply his way—embracing life and living it to the fullest.

“Everyone has given us so much here in Las Vegas. I cannot say thank you enough.” – Setu

Today, the Jacobsons live with their niece, Emma Swarzman, who also provides great support daily. “She has been with us since the day of the accident,” Setu says. Despite taking care of Max 24 hours a day, Setu remains optimistic and looks forward to his further improvement.

Each month they travel to Southern California. Setu considers the time Max is able to spend with his dear friends to be a big part of his healing. But they always keep their Las Vegas family close to their hearts.

“Everyone has given us so much here in Las Vegas,” Setu says. “I cannot say thank you enough.”

When family members show him articles that he wrote for Vegas Seven, Max smiles and says, “I remember eating there and writing about it.”  One restaurant that comes to mind is Lotus of Siam, a place he and Setu frequented and still rave about being the No. 1 restaurant in the nation. “Max was part of making them successful,” Setu says. “He did great things.”

For now, the Jacobsons take it day by day. Max enjoys his morning walks, watching old movies and Jeopardy!, playing bridge on his computer and having coffee at Starbucks like he always did. In fact, just the other day he drove to Starbucks, something that would have been thought very improbable after the accident. He also recently watched a movie in a theater, which Setu regards as yet another great and encouraging milestone.