On July 17, the Hard Rock Hotel unveiled a trophy case filled with memorabilia honoring chef Kerry Simon. Sitting in front of what used to be the entrance to Simon Kitchen and Bar, it includes the Rock ’n’ Roll Chef’s personal backstage passes from tours by Mötley Crüe, Alice in Chains and Alice Cooper, photos of him with Bianca Jagger and Bill Murray, his personal kitchen knives and chef’s coat as well as his guitar, among other items. Simon, who is currently battling an aggressive disease similar to Parkinson’s called Multiple Systems Atrophy, attended in a wheelchair wearing a t-shirt that said “F*CK MSA.”
Warner Gaming executive Don Marrandino did the honors, and several dozen of the chef’s friends were on hand to congratulate him, including George Maloof and chefs Grant MacPherson and Kim Canteenwalla. This is the first time the Hard Rock has honored a chef this way. But, Marrandino explained, “This place has always honored rock stars, and we think of Kerry as a rock star.”
A week earlier, Food Network Star alumnus Vic Vegas hosted a viewing party for the premiere of World Food Championships on FYI in his Anthem restaurant Vic’s. Local chef Julie Hession—who was featured in the burger competition on the first episode—was among the viewers. Sadly, she didn’t win. But she did tell me she was contemplating reviving her popular Julie Anne’s line of granola. In the meantime, the six-part TV series, which was shot Downtown last fall, airs Thursdays at 11 p.m.
Finally, I was recently in Los Angeles and had the opportunity to check out Mud Hen Tavern, the Hollywood restaurant from Border Grill’s Susan Feniger that opened last December. While she’s generally known as one of America’s top Mexican-cuisine chefs, this place demonstrates that she’s certainly no one-trick pony. Highlights of my meal included lamb meatballs; spicy deviled eggs; coconut jam on toast with fried egg and soy; spinach potato pierogi; pumpkin ravioli and my favorite: chicken and waffle croquettes. If you’re in the neighborhood, you definitely want to check this place out.