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Founder and Chef of Ume Burger Dead at 38

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The iconic burger joint Ume Burger has lost its celebrated Sydney founder and chef Kerby Craig.

He was only 38-years-old.

Before Craig returned Down Under to start his Japanese fusion brand, he worked at Michelin-star restaurants in the UK and Canada.

The sad news of his sudden passing was posted to Ume’s social media this morning, leaving people sad and lost in the wake of the news.

“With deep sorrow, we announce the unexpected passing of our founder, our dearest son, and brother, mentor, and friend, Kerby Craig,” the post read.

“Words can barely express our grief. Today, as we celebrate his life well-lived, we also acknowledge the tenth anniversary of the Ume brand established by Kerby in 2012 with a much loved fine dining Japanese restaurant.”

“Kerby strived to live out his passions and worked tirelessly to make Ume what it is today, bringing joy and fun to people through good food. He was driven and free-spirited, pursuing his goals with a determination very few people possess.”

Craig’s career began at just 15 years of age when he dropped out of school and worked at famed Japanese-Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s restaurant in Rozelle.

He honed his skills in London for a while before returning home to work as a chef de partie at the Koi restaurant (now closed) in Woolwich, where he earned six consecutive hats.

He opened the fine-dining Japanese restaurant Ume in Surry Hills in 2012, which eventually morphed into Fusion Burger Joint, which was closed down in 2021 after the expiration of the lease.

Kerby is said to have been outspoken, passionate, caring, loyal, and charismatic, a larrikin with a larger-than-life personality. He loved Sydney hospitality, his dog Bobby, Japan, Popcorn, and Snacks, and he adored his family and friends.

His cause of death has not been released.

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