My friend Jim says I have food memories and that I have perfect recall when it comes to food, dining experiences and who I was with when I ate something unique. That MAY be true.
I can recall with perfect clarity the very first thing I ate that Kerry Simon made. He was doing a demo at the Global Gaming Expo (GE) and he made a beet & arugula salad with burrata. I was comped the ticket to the event because I was in culinary school so I am pretty sure it was 2008. When I mentioned that to him upon first meeting him, he was shocked that I would remember something so simple so vividly. It stood out in my head because
- I couldn’t believe a chef of his caliber was doing a demo at a convention
- Up until that point I hadn’t experienced burrata
- I rarely ate beets then (they were just becoming the “trend” ingredient of the moment).
Today the world lost that culinary visionary. The chef who made “Junk Food” trendy and hip.
The chef with literal Rock Star following and status. The only chef to ever have an installation at the Hard Rock.
Kerry Simon was all of those things and more. He was a humanitarian and a fighter.
Attacked by MSA (Multiple System Atrophy), a horrible, debilitating disease for which there is no cure, he raised awareness and brought the disease to the forefront of the Las Vegas culinary community’s consciousness. I had never heard of it until Kerry was stricken with it.
I had the good fortune to meet Kerry before the MSA took hold and to volunteer at a fundraiser to raise awareness and funding to find a cure after the disease had attacked him. It was so heartbreaking to watch a vibrant beautiful person deteriorate before our eyes.
May a treatment and cure be found and may he rest in peace.