One of Downtown Las Vegas’ favorite restaurants now has a full-circle family connection in the kitchen.
“Carson Kitchen would always be in my mind, that being Kerry’s last restaurant and his legacy,” Scott Simon says during his first few weeks on the job. “To come back and work in a place that has Kerry’s spirit surrounding it, I’m definitely going to take the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Scott is 17 years younger than his mentor, Las Vegas culinary icon Kerry Simon, who died in 2015. But Scott has been involved with Kerry’s food and restaurants since Scott’s teenage years, when his older brother was already a celebrity known as “the rock ’n’ roll chef.”
“When I was growing up, I would be watching TV, and Kerry would be on there. I would read through magazines, and Kerry would be in Bon Appétit or Rolling Stone. I looked up to Kerry.”
Scott cooked with Kerry at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach, at the legendary Simon Kitchen & Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, at Cathouse at Luxor and, most recently, at Chuck’s in Chicago. Returning to Las Vegas has been something of a homecoming.
“I spent 13 years here. It’s the longest place I’ve lived other than growing up in Chicago until I was 17,” Scott says. “I have the same love for this city as Kerry did.”
What makes this gig different is that Scott is jumping into an already established eatery. Carson Kitchen, opened in 2014 in the refurbished John E. Carson hotel building, remains a Downtown hot spot, so expectations are high.
Scott is well-aware of this challenge. “There’s no denying that the place has been extremely successful. My outlook is to come in and learn all the aspects, from prep to every position on the line to seeing the overall [vision]. It’s similar to what I did when I started [cooking] with Kerry.” Full circle, indeed.