In Loving Memory

Chef Gray Kunz

Chef. Restaurateur. James Beard Nominee. Author. Restaurant Hall of Fame Recipient. Innovator. Father & Grandfather. Aviator. World Renowned.

Gray Kunz Legacy Fund

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Gray Kunz 1955-2020

Many chefs are able to deliver culinary expertise in a particular genre or culture, but Chef Gray Kunz was one of the few who took a truly holistic approach.

Combining supreme epicurean skill with the business acumen required in the global food industry, Chef Gray took his work further and pushed boundaries. That included focusing on nutrition, the environment, and a real desire to drive sustainability. It is that combination that defined the “Kunzian” values and is the reason why Chef Gray Kunz earned worldwide respect.

Born in Singapore and raised in Switzerland, Chef Gray and his cooking embodied the best of both worlds, expressed through esoteric flavors. The Asian influences were evident, as was the luxury and contemporary style that have become hallmarks of modern Swiss business, and of course the impeccable preparation of French fine dining.

The story started in Bern, Switzerland where Chef Gray began as a chef apprentice. He went on to train with Frédy Girardet, one of the greatest chefs of the 20th century, in what was, for many years, considered the best restaurant in the world.

Travel and international flavours continued to influence his style as they reflected the journey he had undertaken. Moving to Hong Kong, he combined French and Chinese culinary techniques before establishing his own brand in New York City.

It was while at the St. Regis Hotel in the storied Lespinasse restaurant, that his creativity flourished and Chef Gray became what is now considered a celebrity chef. He even created a special spoon for chefs while at Lespinasse, which has gained its own notoriety and is favoured by many chefs around the world. Leaving Lespinasse, Chef Gray began to build his own culinary empire.

Opening Cafe Gray in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in 2009, Cafe Gray Deluxe at The Upper House in Hong Kong. Chef Gray’s name and brand continued to grow and became more and more synonymous with luxury and excellence. He has been named Best Chef in New York City by the James Beard Foundation, who also gave him the accolade of Best American Chef.

In 2001, co-authoring the book, The Elements of Taste, added yet another layer to the sophistication of the Gray Kunz brand. The book created its own cult following by imaginatively arranging recipes by 14 basic tastes rather than by course or primary ingredient.

When he wasn’t creating culinary experiences, Chef Gray found his freedom in the skies, flying in a husky two seater plane, a love he developed after taking flying lessons awhile back. If not in the air, you may have found him foraging in the woods for fresh mushrooms. His appreciation for the air, land, and sea is what made him truly appreciate every element of taste.