In memory of Kerry Simon – Rock on Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef

By Debbie Hall

Informer Media Group

It is with great sadness to report that Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef Kerry Simon passed away on Sept. 11, 2015 due to complications to MSA, or multiple system atrophy, a rare form of Parkinson’s disease. Chef Simon opened multiple restaurants in Las Vegas, including “Simon” at Palms Place, Simon Kitchen & Bar at the Hard Rock hotel-casino, Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas and KGB at Harrah’s.

On a personal note, I first interviewed Chef Simon when he was affiliated with Cathouse at the Luxor. There were two reporters and, yes, I made certain I sat next to him. I developed biggest crush which I still have and always will. I had the honor of not only interviewing him on numerous occasions but to enjoy his cuisine at all of his restaurants and see him at many events.

For a tribute, we are reposting the pictures and story from July 18, 2014 when a memorabilia case was dedicated to Chef Simon. As details come in, we will keep you informed.  Rock on!

Reposted from July 18, 2014

Friends and family flocked to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino last night to see the memorabilia case dedication of legendary chef Kerry Simon. Simon, dubbed the “rock ‘n’ roll chef” by Rolling Stone magazine, was honored with the inaugural culinary memorabilia case at the property. More than 100 patrons gathered as Simon, Warner Gaming Executive Don Marrandino and Hard Rock Hotel’s Memorabilia Curator Warwick Stone unveiled the permanent fixture which was flanked by models donning cotton candy wigs, a tribute to Simon’s signature dessert.

“This place has always honored rock stars and we think of Kerry as a rock star,” explained Marrandino during the ceremony. He also made note of the impact that Simon and his culinary talents have had on not only the property but the city. In addition, Marrandino acknowledged his friend’s courageous battle with Multiple System Atrophy(MSA) but that he can’t wait to one day bring another Simon restaurant concept back to the resort.

“Kerry has always kept Vegas in his heart,” praised Stone. Turning to Simon he added, “It is an honor to salute you.”

The display boasts a photograph of Simon and longtime friend actor Bill Murray in matching Elvis suits, a bust of Simon painted purple, black chef coat from Simon Kitchen & Bar, autographed guitar, culinary knives, image of him as a young chef with Bianca Jagger and various awards.

Photos by © Erik Kabik / RETNA / erikkabik.com

In 2002, Simon partnered with restaurateur Elizabeth Blau to open Simon Kitchen & Bar at Hard Rock Hotel. The venue quickly became a favorite of celebrities, tourists and Las Vegas notables. It was selected as one of “America’s Best New Restaurants” by Esquire Magazine in 2003. 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.” Playgirl magazine even named him as one of the country’s sexiest chefs and featured an interview with Simon in the April 2003 issue. These days, Simon has numerous restaurant concepts throughout Las Vegas as well as the world.

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