Celebrity chef Kerry Simon died Friday, according to multiple media reports. He died at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas.
You’re never prepared for something like this. “Our focus now is to continue this fight against MSA in Kerry’s honor”, said friend and longtime business partner Elizabeth Blau. Recognizing the potential of Vegas’ culinary future, Simon decided to make the city his home.
Simon appeared on two American iterations of Iron Chef.
News of his death drew tributes from the food world and beyond – actors, musicians, even NASCAR drivers – reflecting the illustrious scope of Simon’s fan base, cultivated over four decades in kitchens across the country.
“This place has always honored rock stars and we think of Kerry as a rock star”, explained Marrandino during the ceremony. Initially, he planned to become a musician but eventually his love of cooking took off. He was a student at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, according to his biography. He went on to open his own restaurants. He started off his career back when Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana, gave him instructions to run the Plaza Hotel’s Edwardian Room back in the ’80s.
Simon graduated into the role for which he’s best known, as a chef and developer of restaurants.
After the steakhouse opened in 1998, Simon made Las Vegas his home. Simon’s presence Downtown brought instant industry legitimacy to the burgeoning restaurant and bar scene in the original Vegas neighborhood, another electric spark jolting the area’s revitalization. Simon went on to become a two-time competitor and judge on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and defeated Kat Kora on the station’s “Battle Hamburger”.
“Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a combination of symptoms that affect both the autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary action such as blood pressure or digestion) and movement”. That profile adds that he helped to pay for his education by working at a Little Caesar’s pizza place.
Simon, affectionately known by his peers in the culinary realm as the “Rock “n” Roll chef”, died in the early hours of Friday morning after a two-year battle with the brain disease.