Following Friday's devastating news that "Rock 'n' Roll Chef" Kerry Simon had passed away due to complications from multiple system atrophy (or MSA), the food community in Vegas and beyond mourns his passing. Below, a small sample:
Great guy. May he rest in peace https://t.co/7QjIq3D1xd— Michael Schwartz (@chefmschwartz) September 11, 2015
The Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a number of pieces on Simon, including an obituary by Heidi Knapp Rinella and notes from Norm Clarke, who shared that in Simon's last months, "Instead of giving in to the horrific disease, Simon chose to join friends at social events." Doug Elfman recalled for the paper "the delicious glamour of Kerry Simon":
Goodbye, Kerry. I will never eat cotton candy without thinking of you. I will always imagine your quiet, Zen smile, flowing hair, by the pool, Britney in the cabana, Avril in PJ's at George's table, "Real Housewives" filming by the chandelier inside, the aroma of tempura talking me into indulging a second serving of the high life.
Al Mancini was working on a cookbook with Simon, which Robin Leach noted in his obituary "will be published next year, with proceeds, at Kerry's insistence, going to the medical fight against MSA." Leach suggested to readers that "Kerry's final wish would be that you, too, join the Fight MSA group that he founded here in his culinary home of Las Vegas."
Mancini called Simon's "influence on the culinary world...undeniable" and asserted that the proliferation of casual restaurants run by top chefs was "a result of Simon having the vision and the courage to address accessible food." He said Simon is "memorable as one of the first true celebrity chefs," before Food Network came along and made the term ubiquitous.
Simon was the epitome of rock-star cool, minus the ego. When he entered a room, it was never with fanfare. You would just look up, and there was Simon—usually with some VIPs in tow.
At the end of the day, Mancini concluded, Simon "wanted to be remembered and celebrated as the Rock 'n' Roll Chef. Of course, that's the only way he ever could. Rest in peace, chef!"