UPDATE: Former Miami chef Kerry Simon passes away from aggressive form of Parkinson's
Simon opened Blue Star at The Raleigh, Starfish and Mercury in Miami
UPDATE, 9/11/15: Sad news has come that Chef Simon has passed away from his disease. The following was published in 2013 when we first learned about it. He will be missed
Kerry Simon, a celebrity chef before celebrity chefs were a a dime a dozen, was once hailed by Rolling Stone as the "rock 'n' roll chef." In fact, we believe we reported that he once dated singer Taylor Dayne. But more than appearances, Simon was a visionary on the emerging Miami restaurant scene, best known for his stints at Blue Star at The Raleigh, Starfish, in the space currently known as Barton G. The Restaurant, and Mercury, a then Washington Avenue hot spot. Simon left us in the 90s to develop, open and oversee new restaurants by Jean Georges Vongerichten in Hong Kong, New York, London, Chicago and Las Vegas.
And Vegas is where he settled and still is today, but unfortunately, according to Las Vegas Sun's Robin Leach--yes, that one--Simon is battling a rare, aggressive form of Parkinson's Disease called MSA. Simon, 58, is trading his walker for a wheelchair and says the prognosis is not good. "The doctors just don't know yet where it comes from. They don't have any answers for it so there's no cure," he told Leach. "There is no evidence it is hereditary. The long-term diagnosis is not good."
Simon, who is undergoing treatment at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, also suffers from slurred speech, but the reason he has come forward with this is because on Friday, he will appear with Emeril Lagasse and Sirio Maccioni at the Silver State Awards in Vegas where he will be presented with a Visionary Award. Despite his condition, he still runs his impressive restaurant empire that includes Simon at the Palms, KGB at Harrah's Pork & Beans in Tony Hsieh's Container Park, the Grill at Sapphire and two restaurants in the Hard Rock Hotels in Chicago and the Dominican Republic.
"It's freaking tough keeping that busy," he told Leach. "I'm afraid to stop, though. I'm determined to keep doing it."
We congratulate him on the well deserved award and wish him only the best. Click here for exclusive video interview with Simon and Leach at the Silver State Awards.
- High end Kaori by Walter Martino opening in Brickell area February 23
- Juvia's Japanese sibling Sushi Garage opens in Miami's Sunset Harbor 'hood
- Now open: Coconut Grove's Spasso--"Simple, honest, brutal food"
- Food Network UK star Andy Bates brings "refined British pub food" to A&E District with 3-day pop up
- Blair Wilson, Mike Isabella, Jennifer Carroll, George Pagnois headline Surfcomber food fest
- The Bridge Cocktail Bar's December takeover of The Local Craft Food & Drink
- Kevin Cory transforms NAOE sibling into N Shabu Shabu
- Alinea in Residence comes to Miami: Chef Grant Achatz to pop up at Faena Miami Beach
- Former Miami restaurant owner Joshua Woodward pleaded no contest Friday to attempted murder for trying to induce a miscarriage
- Jose Garces planning Miami restaurant