Chef Gray Kunz, a globally renowned four-star chef, culinary inventor and founder of multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, passed away on March 5th, 2020 at the age of 65.
He was born in Singapore in 1955 and spent the first ten years of his life there. Gray often credited the development of his palate to his early childhood days visiting the markets and food stalls in his native country.
After completing his culinary education in Switzerland, he apprenticed for five years under Frédy Girardet. He then moved on to the Regent Hotel in Hong Kong. It was there that Gray embraced and refined his skill with both French and Chinese cooking methods.
Blazing a Trail at Every Turn
Chef Gray moved to New York City in 1988, first working at Adrienne at the Peninsula Hotel.
In 1991, he became the executive chef of Lespinasse at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, and during that time he invented what would become known as the Kunz Spoon. He was frustrated that he couldn’t find one utensil to do everything he needed from saucing to tasting to measuring. Gray embraced his entrepreneurial spirit and created exactly what he needed.
Over two decades after its inception, the Kunz Spoon is still considered an essential tool by chefs across the world.
After receiving a four-star review at Lespinasse in 1994, Chef Gray would carry on creating his trailblazing cuisine and mentoring up-and-coming chefs before making the decision to pursue other ventures in 1998.
Chef Gray was known for locally sourcing ingredients for his vegetable-forward menu. Five years after leaving Lespinasse, he brought his culinary genius back to the plate. He founded his first eponymous restaurant, Cafe Gray.
A Visionary Multipreneur
It’s no secret he made his mark as a culinary genius. Not everyone knew Chef Gray was also deeply entrepreneurial. He had more accomplishments than most and still had so much vision for more he could do for our world.
He had a deep affection for people and the planet. Gray wanted to do more to preserve and maximize the resources of the world while healing people with the power of natural nutrition. Also, he had several compelling ideas on how we could make our planet more sustainable.
Chef Gray was preparing to expand Goodfish, a business venture that would empower the world’s top chefs to work together to save our oceans. He had a revolutionary idea for plastic clothing made from waste. He had dreams of making some of the planet’s most precious purified water available to the masses, among other initiatives.
A Life Lived Bravely
When discussing business plans, conversations with Chef Gray often started with “Which idea should we talk about first?”. None of his ambitions were small, and they all had standalone potential to change the world at massive scale. Together, his ideas would transform and even eliminate the problems we’re looking to solve as a human race.
As the culinary world acknowledges his amazing contributions and grieves his passing, the entrepreneur world also recognizes him as a man of massive impact who lived a life of bravery and great influence. So many will miss and celebrate this incredible man.
Chef Gray Kunz was a visionary entrepreneur and an amazing embodiment of how much positive impact one man could make on the world. The Kunz family is in our hearts and prayers during this time of remembrance and mourning.