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Chef Kerry Simon talks David Bowie, Debbie Harry, ‘Iron Chef’ and KGB

Chef Kerry Simon with 2011 Miss USA Pageant contestants at Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s.
Photo: Miss Universe Organization
By Kerry Simon

Duck Party Thursdays Returns to Palms Pool

KGB's Second Anniversary at Harrah's

Porn Princesses at Simon in Palms Place

Chef Kerry Simon attends Epicurean Charitable Foundation's fundraiser M.E.N.U.S. at M Resort on Sept. 30, 2011.

Chef Kerry Simon attends Epicurean Charitable Foundation's fundraiser M.E.N.U.S. at M Resort on Sept. 30, 2011.

While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our thanks to them all. We continue today with “Iron Chef” winner Kerry Simon, who in addition to his hit L.A. restaurants also has Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers in Harrah’s and Simon in Palms Place with its wildly popular Sunday pajama brunch.

Robin Leach and I have been friends for many years, and he’ll tell you that food and entertainment go hand-in-hand in this town. I’ve found a great appeal in the small places and unknown chefs doin’ their thing around town. Las Vegas is a real goldmine if you’re willing to dig.

I’m a huge fan of off-the-Strip and off-the-wall eateries. The range of cuisine is astonishing and the ambiance amazing. It’s great to see truly amazing chefs creating high-end cuisine in the best hole-in-the-wall spots in town.

A really fun thing happening right now is food trucks, some of the best stuff around after midnight. The techniques used in these mobile kitchens are very impressive, as well as mouthwatering. If you see one parked, take a chance; you won’t regret it.

The growth of high-end dining has come to the valley in a big way. The culinary scene is still blowing up like never before, and I’m lovin’ it. New, bigger, better, bring it; I’m ready!

It’s always good to see the industry grow in new and exciting ways. Years ago, I started a chef’s table in the kitchen at the Plaza NYC. We began having quite the guest list and some interesting times.

One night, David Bowie proposed to Iman right there. It blew everyone’s mind in the kitchen. Another night, Debbie Harry of Blondie changed into lingerie at the table during her birthday party. You’re just gonna have to wait for my book to hear the rest of that one!

Here in Las Vegas, it’s summertime, and swimming with the ducks is back. Come to Simon at Palms Place Pool on Thursday at 7 p.m. and try to grab one of more than 25,000 rubber ducks each week with prizes including free rooms at the Palms and complimentary drinks, desserts and dinner vouchers at Simon on specially marked ducks.

Simon’s Happy Hour menu is served every day from 4 to 7 p.m. Get it started early with one of our cocktails, and try a couple of new selections from our menu, including line-caught California king salmon, whole roasted Mediterranean branzino and pan seared Alaskan halibut. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it.

For your burger fix, KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s offers the ultimate selection at lunch, dinner and late night. Try signature snacks and sides, including the “Iron Chef”-winning sliders and waffle fry nachos, plus a selection of treats. Captain Crunch milkshake, anyone? You also can enjoy the tasty burger and shake of the month.

For July, we have the all-American BBQ rib burger and an apple pie milkshake. There’s no better way to celebrate Independence Day all month long. In August, we will be making a teriyaki chicken burger and a pink lemonade milkshake with homemade ice cream. Yum!

From design and decor to menu and ambiance, everything is very personal to me. It is always my goal to create a restaurant where guests have a memorable experience and feel like they could come back and eat every day. KGB, with more than 150 seats, is open seven days a week. All burgers, sides and snacks are crafted in-house from responsibly raised meats and market-fresh produce.

The industry has treated me well, and I’m just gonna keep rockin’. Soon to be opening, Simon Rock Mansion at Hard Rock Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Be on the lookout for the opening date. And a huge thank you to all those who have helped me along the way; you know who you are.

It was my pleasure to write this, and I feel lucky to thrive in this business and have Robin as a dear friend and supporter for so many years. Thank you, Robin!

Our thanks to Kerry for serving up today’s taste treats. Be sure to check out our other guest columns today from Flamingo magician headliner Nathan Burton and fashion designer Tatyana Khomyakova and return Wednesday for Australian singers Human Nature, hair guru to the stars Michael Boychuck and chef Steve Martorano.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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