Gray Kunz (8 November 1966 - 6 March 2020) was a Singaporian-born Swiss restaurateur, chef, and cookbook writer based in New York. Kunz spent his early childhood in Singapore, which influenced his fusion style of cooking later in his life. He has a career that has spanned three continents and was one of Manhattan’s most acclaimed chefs of the 1990s, when he worked for nine years at Lespinasse.
4 The Elements of Taste
Kunz was raised in Switzerland and Singapore. He received his culinary education in Bern, Switzerland. He worked at the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne and Baur au Lac in Zurich. Then, Kunz apprenticed under Swiss chef Frédy Girardet for five years in Crissier. After that, he moved to the Regent Hotel in Hong Kong, where he learned French and Chinese cooking methods. In 1988, he moved to Adrienne at the Peninsula Hotel in New York. In 1991, he became the Executive Chef of Lespinasse, becoming the highest-paid chef in the city at the St. Regis Hotel, where he was allowed freedom of creativity and budget to attract crowds from Concorde. While there, he created a special spoon used by the chefs in his kitchen, which was later cited as the favorite kitchen tool for many chefs. He eventually left the restaurant during period of success to venture out and found his own restaurants.
Kunz mentored many future celebrity chefs, such as Andrew Carmellini, Floyd Cardoz, Rocco DiSpirito, and Corey Lee.
Kunz's dishes reflect his travel and educational experience. They marry classic French technique with Pan-Asian flavors and ingredients that he became familiar with in Singapore as a child and later in Hong Kong, where he worked as a chef for five years. He layers techniques from Europe, India, China, and Southeast Asia in his work. In 1994, Ruth Reichl, a food writer, chef, editor, and producer, awarded Kunz a four-star review in the New York Times, the first she had ever given. Aside from the Four Stars from the New York Times, his work earned him multiple James Beard nominations for "Outstanding Chef". Kunz received of the Mobil 5 Diamond Award for 1996, 1997, and 1998, was inducted into the Restaurant Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Culinary Institute of America recognized him as a Master of Aesthetics in 2002.
Café Gray- a 225 seat establishment in the Time Warner Center(opened in 2004, closed in 2008)
Grayz (closed in 2008)
Café Gray Deluxe Hong Kong (opened in 2009)
Salt and Char (Opened in 2016, left restaurant in summer 2016)
The Elements of Taste
Peter Kaminsky teamed up with Gray and the two published "The Elements of Taste" in 2001.
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