Oded Brenner: Crafting a Chocolate Legacy

Oded Brenner: Crafting a Chocolate Legacy -

Oded Brenner, born on May 28, 1968, is a confectioner and chocolatier, known for co-founding and formerly owning the chocolate brand Max Brenner.


Oded Brenner grew up in the city of Rehovot, Israel. After completing his military service, he enrolled in a confectioner's course at "Tadmor," sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Labor for discharged soldiers.

Brenner honed his skills under the guidance of Austrian confectioner Fritz Mayer in Tyrol, Austria. For the next six years, he worked in various confectioneries in Austria, Germany, and France.

In 1996, in partnership with Max Fichtman, Oded Brenner established Max Brenner Chocolate Bar, a venture that grew into an international chain of chocolate-themed restaurants and shops. Today, it is jointly owned by Oded Brenner and Strauss Group.

Oded Brenner's mission was to cultivate a chocolate culture akin to the coffee culture that had developed in Europe and Israel. This chocolate culture manifested in various ways, including a variety of cocoa bean varieties, processing methods, and powder production, diverse and original recipes, and new food and beverage items (such as chocolate soup and chocolate pizza).

Unique and creatively designed drinking vessels (such as hugging mugs and sacao cups) and retro-style packaging were also part of this cultural development. Brenner drew design inspiration from observing different cultures, eating habits, beverages, and art.

Brenner pioneered the concept of chocolate bars as an alternative to coffee shops and restaurants where most of the food and drinks were cocoa-based. These establishments, known as chocolate bars, have since spread worldwide, with five located in Israel.

Many of Max Brenner's products are based on recipes from the Parisian confectioner Michel Chaudun, where Brenner worked as an apprentice without financial compensation.

As part of the apprenticeship tradition, the chef leaves an open recipe book on the table or tosses a note in the trash for the apprentice to find. Following this tradition, in 2001, Brenner's network was sold to Strauss Group, and he remained the CEO until 2011.

In response to Brenner's attempt to establish a competing coffeehouse chain in New York, Strauss Group filed a lawsuit in New York, claiming a breach of agreement. As a result of the settlement between the parties, Brenner was barred from engaging in chocolate-related business activities for five years.

In 2016, Oded Brenner served as a judge in the first season of the Israeli TV show "Bake Off Israel," based on the British format, alongside Karin Goren and Ran Shmueli.

In 2018, he opened a new restaurant in New York, "Blue Stripes Cacao Shop," focusing on chocolate and its various products.

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