Skip to main content

Kerry Simon Says... It's About the People

I've worked for a couple of "celebrity chefs" throughout my service industry career.  The one that has made the biggest impression on me is "Rock and Roll Chef" Kerry Simon.  He was named the "Rock and Roll Chef" by Rolling Stone magazine because most of his fanbase are rock-and-roll stars, and other celebrities alike.

Kerry himself looks like the front man of a rock band.  Long hair, easy-going demeanor, and a charisma that the ladies love.  He has many accolades, but my favorite is that he won "Iron Chef America."  I helped open his first L.A. restaurant, "Simon LA," six years ago inside The Sofitel Hotel @ Los Angeles.  It was the busiest and most profitable restaurant I have ever worked at to date.  But no matter how busy we were, Kerry would always make us laugh with his laid back, "What's going on guys?" type of hello's while he would text people from the expo line secretly overseeing everything.

At first, I didn't get it.  I just thought that when you reached that level as a chef, you just watched over the cooks to make sure that they got your recipes right.  Kerry would have his face in his phone and text people during my shifts.  He seriously texted more than a 14 year old girl who just came home from a school dance and had to tell her friends what happened.  But it wasn't until I asked him how he got to where he is now that I finally understood what I have heard about all along from any casting director, coach, or my parents...  It's about relationships, establishing them, and then nurturing them all of your life.

There's that cliche, "This guy knows everybody."  They were talking about Kerry.  Working at Simon LA, I not only waited on these people, but also was introduced to them through Kerry.  The ones that stick out the most to me are, Bon Jovi, Shannon Tweed, and Bill Murray.  Kerry and Bill grew up together and are still friends.  Good guy.  With this crowd, Kerry rocks out with his spatula out.

I remember one night, Fred Durst from "Limp Bizkit" was at the restaurant.  Kerry went over to talk to him for awhile.  Before he left the table, I heard Kerry say to Fred, "Can I get your number again?  I lost it with my old phone."

Fred gave him his number, and Kerry came back to the expo line.  I went up to Kerry and asked, "How long have you known him."

"I don't.  That was my first time talking to him.  But now I can keep in contact with him.  That's how I've met a lot of my friends," he simply said.

"I've been doing it wrong all these years," I said, dumbfounded.  But it works!

I know this post has a different tone than my usual bitterness.  I am writing this because I recently discovered that Kerry has announced that he has a rare form of Parkinson's disease, (multiple system atrophy,) and is now getting around in a wheel chair.  He has no family history of Parkinson's.  He has deteriorated physically, but not spiritually.  Kerry always exercised a lot, ate well, and never smoked or drank.  He drank fresh vegetable juice everyday.  (In fact, he had one of the cooks make his juice no matter how busy we were, but that's Kerry.)

I can relate to Kerry.  There's no history of diabetes in my family, but somehow I'm diabetic.  This is one of life's many curveballs.  But he has asked to bring awareness to this disease and cause, and I wanted to do that.

To say that Kerry Simon is courageous and inspiring is a given.  I would rather say that he is strong, because strength is what he needs to continue to move forward.

You can read about Kerry's story here.  

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro





 FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER CLICK HERE
"LIKE" ME ON FACEBOOK CLICK HERE

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Letter to Yelpers

Dear Yelpers:

You think you're smart.  Nope.  You think you're cool.  Wrong again.  You think this is the popularity that you have been yearning to have since high school.  (BUZZ!)  Incorrect.

It's time for you to take the energy that you put into your Yelping, and focus your attention on yourself.  Your "opinion" is not important.  The fact that your meal was ruined by the color of your server's apron, or the shape of the plates, or that they didn't give you anything for free on your birthday just means that you were not a planned pregnancy, and you should be grateful that you made it to full term.

Ouch!  That hurts, doesn't it?  Well, do you think that destroying someone's business is okay?  That demeaning your server or bartender makes you look like you know what you're talking about?  If your opinion REALLY mattered, (it doesn't,) then you should crawl out from your hiding space where you Yelp on your laptop, and talk to someone face-…

Cover My Shift!!!

The anxiety of trying to get your shift covered at a serving job ranks up there with wondering if the pee stick is going to turn positive or negative after a long night of having shots with your coworkers, and you ended up hooking up with one of them.  Eventually, the pregnancy scare turns out to be negative, you get your shift covered, and everything is right with the world.

But trying to get your shift covered is never easy.  Especially when you feel like you go out of your way to cover other people's shifts when they ask, but when the time comes for you to ask them, it becomes an entire ordeal.

"Hey Steve, would you be able to cover my shift next Wednesday night?  My parents are going to be in town," I asked last Saturday night.

"I might be able to, but I won't know until Tuesday.  Can I get back to you then?" Steve replied.

"That's cutting it close," I said.  "Would you be able to tell me by Monday?"

"I can't cause I h…

Don't Forget Your Teeth

An older lady was dining with her husband, granddaughter, and her granddaughter's boyfriend one night, when the old lady turns to me and says,

"What do you have that's soft to eat?  I forgot my teeth."

Who the hell forgets their teeth?  Let me get this straight, when you looked at yourself in the mirror before you left, you didn't notice something was missing when you smiled?


"I know how you feel," I said, "sometimes I forget my phone.  I feel lost without it."  She just looked at me as if she didn't know what I meant by that because she still uses a rotary phone.  (Look it up.)

I explained that we have soups that she could have, but she was concerned about her choices for salad.  She and her family were using a Groupon, so they had to select from the items on the prefixed menu.

"Is the salad soft?" she asked.

"I could have the kitchen chop it fine for you.  That would make it easier to eat." I replied.  I was also g…