Rolling Stone magazine once labeled Kerry Simon “the Rock and Roll chef.” I had the chance to work next to him when we were both employed by separate kitchens at New York’s Drake Hotel, Kerry working under Jean-George Vongerichten(JGV). Later Ivana Trump stole him to head her restaurant at The Plaza Hotel.
Kerry went on to head kitchens in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, becoming one of the early celebrity chefs. Besides working at namesakes like Lutece and La Cote Basque, was an Iron Chef winner, had Hollywood pals like Bill Murray, and become a private chef for Led Zepplin. Though he was known as both brash and creative, working with him at the Drake Hotel, he just seemed like an all-around good guy.
Years later I met him at a New York City bus stop. Even though it had been a long time since we both had worked at the Drake Hotel, he recognized me and was eager to catch up. Fame had not seemed to change him. And in the spring of 2006, early in the production of Stir the Pots, I asked Kerry for an interview. He was kind enough to agree. Less than ten years later, he would die of a rare neurological disease.
In our interview, Kerry discussed his travels, favorite restaurants and what drew him to food. Enjoy.