Jun 20, 2022
In memory of Kerby Craig, here's the podcast I recorded with him in 2014.
I listened back to this episode after I heard about Kerby being gone and it made me re-remember all these great things from that day, so I thought I should share these stories again, in tribute to Kerby and his enthusiasm for cooking, Japanese food culture and hospitality …
As a 15 year old, Kerby Craig was fascinated by the world of restaurants – seeing a chef breakdancing in the middle of service (!) confirmed for him that this was the industry that he wanted to work in. By accident, he ended up at the original Tetsuya’s as a teenage apprentice chef and, after stints in Sydney and overseas, later helped Koi earn a hat in The Good Food Guide. To mark this achievement, he actually got a chef’s hat tattooed on his neck – an act that was memorably referred to in Terry Durack’s review of Ume, the restaurant that Kerby opened after his time at Koi. (“That’s a hat you can’t take off him,” Kerby’s manager told Durack at an event. “That’s a hat I would never take off you, Kerby!” replied the Herald food critic.)
Despite earning acclaim, Kerby’s experience with the industry has endured some rough lows – including the business failure of Koi – and opening Ume was “very very stressful”, he says. “I don’t know how we got a loan!”
Also in this podcast, Kerby chats about his own adventures dining from Kyoto to Fukuoka – and enjoying the next-level hospitality of Japanese establishments.
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