Iconic chef dies

Jimmy Kyritsis passed away on Sunday August 23.

Sea Point’s iconic chef, Jimmy Kyritsis is no more.

Mr Kyritsis was the owner of the Buzbey Grill in Three Anchor Bay for nearly four decades.

Known for his mouth-
watering steaks, tender calamari and humour, Jimmy and his steakhouse became part of Sea Point’s history.

He passed away peacefully on Sunday August 23, at the Sara Valley Care Home, Noordhoek, suffering from severe vascular dementia, aged 74.

Born Demetri Kyritsis on July 3, 1946, he was the third son of four children born to John and Elaine Kyritsis. The eldest son George passed away in July 2018 and second eldest son Fotis passed away in December 2011. His sister Sophia currently lives in the United Kingdom with her husband.

Fondly known as Jimmy, he was educated at Wynberg Boys’ Junior and High School, which is where he developed his love of sport – a passion he retained throughout his life, if not actively participating. After leaving high school, while trying his hand at different skills, he developed his passion for the culinary arts, eventually leading him to acquire Buzbey Grill in the early-80s, and which he successfully owned and managed for almost 40 years until retiring in March 2018.

Throughout these years, he developed a close relationship with his clients, many of whom became his friends.

He never married, always jokingly claiming he was married to his grill. In his time off from his grill, apart from watching sport, his hobbies included reading and the enjoyment of a varied selection of music, but particularly jazz and blues.

His sister Sophia recalls one of his “pet hates” with amusement. The restaurant was often frequented by families and, throughout the dining, many of the families’ children remained absorbed with their mobile phones. This irritated Jimmy no end, and he always made a point of telling them to “please put your mobile phones away: you are here to dine, enjoy the meal and quality time together, not to play”.

From their earlier days, Sophia still recalls Jimmy’s childish guilt when, their father John, being proud to be blessed with a girl after three boys, bought a Silver-Cross pram and, when the wheels started wobbling during an outing, Jimmy was eventually forced into admitting he’d tampered with the wheels. When asked why he had done this, he reluctantly admitted “I don’t like having a girl as a sister” – basically because he didn’t like the idea of not being the youngest sibling any more.

Jimmy’s niece, Alexandra, recalls that going to Buzbey had been something of a ritual. The restaurant ran like clockwork, and Jimmy was captain. Every guest that entered would first be greeted by Jimmy himself, with a special smile and nod of the head through a waft of smoke, as his octopus-like arms took paper slips for orders, steaks sizzled on the grill and his knuckles rapped on the counter for the waiter to get the order to a table in double-time. Nothing escaped his keen eye.

“Once the bulk of the orders were through, I would feel so honoured when he would leave the grill to come over and have a chat. It wasn’t just a restaurant, but rather a down-to-earth establishment where folk could come to feel at home and enjoy an excellent meal. We had many family gatherings there,” she said.

Jimmy’s remaining family have asked that all who knew him not mourn in sadness, but rather remember all the good times and be happy, as Jimmy would wish of his friends.