with drugs, Kerry spent his "midnight hours " experimenting with
recipes from the Julia Child cookbook. At 20 Kerry enrolled in the
prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
An apprenticeship at three star chef Jean Morels' L'hostellerie
Bressane provided monetary support and many hands on lessons in
the basics of French cuisine. Upon graduation Kerry packed those
lessons along with the rudiments of his culinary intuition and moved
to New York.
Kerry's arrival in New York was not met with fanfare, recognition
came with invitations for long hours of hard work under such culinary
luminaries as Jean-Jacques Rachou of La Cote Basque and Andre Soltner
of Lutece. These assignments lead to a position as personal chef
for John Addey at Canonbury House in London, England. Then Kerry
returned to New York to work as personal chef for the family of
money mogul Saul Steinburg.
next move was to seek out the mentorship of another culinary master,
Louis Outier. This landed him at the now defunct Lafayette restaurant
in New York's Drake Hotel. At the Drake Kerry formed a synergistic,
creative relationship and friendship with another rising culinary
star, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
1988 the Lafayette received a four star rating. Holding pastry chef
and sous-chef positions, Kerry's contributions to the burgeoning
" New American " cooking movement placed him among the young, culinary,
elite and in 1989 the "spotlight" called in the guise of Ivana Trump.
It only took one meeting between Kerry and Ivana for them to agree
that Kerry should be executive chef at the Edwardian Room in New
York's high profile Plaza Hotel.
celebrities and food writers began to show up to sample Kerry's
daring creations. But, it was Kerry's good friend, Paige Powell
of Interview magazine and a bag of Dungeness crabs that would raise
Kerry to the status of culinary star.Very simply, Ms. Powell and
her friends wanted Kerry to prepare some Dungeness crabs. They also
wanted to dine in the kitchen. Kerry obliged. The next day more
friends of Ms. Powell's phoned to request kitchen dining privilages.
Kerry, once again, met their wishes. Soon Kerry's kitchen was booked
two months in advance -- the hottest spot to dine in New York City.
By reinstating the age-old tradition of a chef's table in the Edwardian
Room kitchen Kerry attracted celebrities such as David Bowie and
Iman, Matt Dillon, Diane Keaton, Debbie Harry, INXS and David Lynch.
Also, Kerry began a trend that reinstated chef's tables in kitchens
throughout many fine restaurants in the United States.
response to Kerry's special brand of culinary genius was more than
positive, however, being the youngest executive chef in the history
of the Plaza Hotel, Kerry did become the target of the ever watchful
eye of gossip columnists in New York papers such as the Post and
the Daily News. When asked to name his culinary creations Kerry
set aside his normally humble demeanor and dubbed his work "wild
food". And when Rolling Stone magazine named Kerry one of the top
personalities of 1991 he became known as the "rock n' roll chef".
1992 Kerry had risen from recognized culinary talent to celebrity
chef. His recipes were featured in magazines and newspapers such
as Vogue and the New York Times. Food writers from as far away as
Japan wrote raves for the Edwardian Room and Kerry's "wild food".
Though some would have viewed their fame as the high point of their
career, Kerry knew it was only the pinnacle of his tenure at the
Plaza Hotel. So, when Ivana left the Plaza management team, Kerry
chose to leave as well.
for adventure, Kerry traveled through Russia, Europe and the Far
East settling in at Miami Beach's Raleigh Hotel: poolside. The Blue
Star began Kerry's foray into what he named comfort food -- comfort
food was simple American fare prepared with the intuition of a master
chef. Mashed potatoes became wasabi mashed, meatloaf was prepared
with the addition of veal and simple, yet, exquisitely seasoned
Blue Star was an immediate and enduring success, as was Starfish,
Kerry's next South Beach establishment. The menu at Starfish was
an extension of the Blue Star menu featuring more products from
the sea. Housed in a speakeasy once owned by Al Capone, Starfish's
ambience combined local color with Kerry's ever widening celebrity
December of 1994 Kerry created Max's in conjunction with restauranteur
Dennis Max. Extensive research was done to ensure that the menu
would be unique, yet, reflective of the comfort food movement that
Kerry had originated. Kerry's intuition and hard work were rewarded
when noted food writer Jon Mariani named Max's one of the best new
restaurants in the United States. Kerry's final Miami success, Mercury,
was developed with noted graphic designer-cum-restauranteur Kenneth
Jaworski. Mercury's menu drew from every facet of Kerry's extensive
career and matched the restaurant's polished, adventurous decor.
the same sense that New York had won Kerry a seat among the culinary
elite, Miami cemented his position in this arena. He was not only
recognized as a master chef, he was seen as a driving force in the
1998, Kerry phoned long time friend Jean-Georges Vongerichten to
discuss an opportunity that he (Kerry) was investigating. From this
dialog it was decided that Kerry should join Jean-Georges' organization
and would function as cuisine and design developer. This new challenge
encompassed every phase of restaurant development.
has traveled the world developing and opening or overseeing restaurants
in Las Vegas, New York, Hong Kong, London and Chicago. Recently,
Kerry left his duties as executive chef/partner at Prime in Las
Vegas and partner at Mercer Kitchen in New York to open 'Simon at
the Hard Rock' in the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas. He expects to
open in November.
Kerry is developing ideas for a television production of his own,
researching global opportunities and seeking any challenges the
culinary world has to offer.