Robert Eugene Karns was an artist. His art was part of everything that he loved cooking, baking, music, life. He was an avid reader who loved words and…He was a master storyteller!
A Vietnam Veteran, he enlisted in the United States Navy following his 1971 graduation from Greenon High School and JVS in Springfield, Ohio. He opened his own Patisserie bakery in Columbus, Ohio before becoming a chef at Jack Nicklaus’s Muirfield Village, one of the first of many culinary accomplishments. He was self taught and as he traveled around where he staged ( stagiaire ), learning the traditional French cooking style. He was well versed in many styles of cooking, he had hoped to open a place called Cowboy Sushi.
He even managed to work for George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch in Marin, CA and was one of the original chefs at Buckhorn Steakhouse and a few of his own businesses even as a private chef on yachts in the San Francisco Bay. He was an Executive chef and Chef De Cuisine at many Bay Area and Northern California Restaurants, including opening Rosalie’s and Left Coast Café in San Francisco., CA. He also worked for a time at Auberge du Soleil in Sonoma, CA, and also a chef in Aspen, CO.
Robert was also the Farmer’s Market Chef in Davis, CA for many years where he would use the ingredients from the vendors to make his menu of the day. He entered and won many competitions for cake, sugar and edible art sculptor contests. There’s even photo of him doing ice sculpture which was posted in a local paper in Colorado. His latest contest was a Rhubarb Competition where he placed 2nd and was also in the local paper. He recently had one his recipes published in the VA Home cookbook in Aurora, CO where he was getting care. He would still do his bird sculpture fruit salads for gatherings.
He was a cancer survivor of 13 years after a life saving surgery in 2009. Survived by his wife Lee Rae and former wife Vilma. He was preceded in death by his wife Michelle. He leaves behind 3 children Robert, Meghan and Katy. He also celebrated meeting his 8 month old granddaughter Eva Paloma.
He loved a grocery and Farmer’s market as well as talking about food. He enjoyed a good conversation and made friends wherever he went telling of stories to anyone who would listen. He was a fierce personality, funny and he wore his heart on his sleeve.
He was surrounded by loved ones in his final days.