On March 6, 2020, chef Gray Kunz passed away at 65 years of age. The world of gastronomy lost not only a great chef whose career defined the 1990s and sparked a revolution in fine dining, but also an advocate for the restaurant industry whose early impact shaped the dining scene today.
Born in 1955 in Singapore, Gray Kunz began his culinary studies under Swiss chef Fredy Girardet, followed by a post at restaurant Plume at the Regent Hong Kong, now known as InterContinental Hong Kong. In 1994, New York Times’ then restaurant critic Ruth Reichl wrote her first four-star review of Kunz’s Asian-inspired French cuisine during his nine-year tenure at New York’s Lespinasse. Kunz’s pan-Asian approach and classic French culinary techniques earned him raves for his restaurants, including his return to Hong Kong in 2009 when he opened Upper House’s Café Gray Deluxe, where he would visit several times a year as a culinary consultant overseeing the menu.