Daybreak broke upon me on the Lebanese shores of the Mediterranean with heartbreaking news: my old friend, chef and co-author Kurt Friese has passed away in Iowa City. He was cofounder with his wife Kim of Devotay restaurant of Slow Food Iowa City, and of Edible Iowa River Valley magazine.
I met him at the first big national gathering of Slow Foodies in Vermont, and we stayed friends ever since traveling for a year together with Kraig Kraft to coauthored: Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail. We were gastronauts on a Spice Odyssey together to New Orleans, Santa Fe, Sonora, Yucatán and St Augustine cracker land.
Kurt was a warm funny exuberant wise well read and powerfully talented chef, but one who walked across the aisle to help Iowa dairymen, distillers, young farmers, budding chefs, old timers and everyone in between.
We have few if any pix of us together with Kraig or with our wives because one of us was always distracted trying to get a good photo of the Chiles we were eating and lauding!
Oh will I miss that guy .. I hope to stop into Iowa City and see his wife Kim and son in early December … to remember and relish the good times with Kurt Michael Friese a tireless and generous innovator and a man of Big Heart.
–Gary Paul Nabhan