The Friese Family

That's Kurt on the left

Kurt Friese's personal motto is "Family First," and above is a photo of his family, taken on the occasion of his mother's 80th birthday celebration in Chicago.  Whether in his career as a successful chef and restaurateur, or in his private life, his family comes first, always.  And he expects his family, friends and co-workers to feel and act the same way towards their families.

Next to Kurt is his son Devon, who ran the bar program at Kurt's former restaurant, Devotay. Next is Kim, Kurt's wife, who is a successful director of services for Siemens software.  Kurt's mother Pat, the birthday girl, is next to her, then his brother-in-law Tony and sister Chris, who is a librarian in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  That's daughter Taylor next to Chris.  She is a fiber artist and also bakes bread in Cedar Rapids, and the combination of her name with Devon's is the inspiration for the restaurant's name, Devotay.  She was married in 2017, and husband Will Gerth (not pictured here) is a computer engineer for Rockwell-Collins.

On the right is Kurt's late father, George, dearly-missed patriarch who passed away suddenly in January of 2015.   An attorney by trade, he always wanted his son to enter public service, and he remains the strongest influence on Kurt's decisions and career. 


Kurt has written 2 books so far

A Cook's Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland

Published by Ice Cube Press in North Libery, A Cook's Journey was an exploration of the farmers, artisans and cooks throughout the Midwest who live the Slow Food ideals of Good, Clean and Fair in their day-to-day lives.  Read more about it here.

Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots on the Pepper trail

Co-written with Gary Nabhan and Kraig Kraft, Chasing Chiles uses heirloom chile peppers as a lens through which to examine the here-and-now realities of global warming.  Check it out here.

Edible Iowa

For 10 years Kurt Friese was owner and publisher of Edible Iowa, the premier source for local food and farms in the state.  Published seasonally, Edible Iowa explored the restaurants and bars, breweries and distilleries, cheesemakers and winemakers, farms and ranches that make Iowa's food traditions so vibrant.  Read about it here.


Devotay is a stalwart community leader in local food and sustainable cuisine for over 20 years.  Located on Linn Street in Iowa City, Friese's landmark restaurant was the first in the area to buy from local farms, as well as to introduce the very convivial "tapas" style of small-plate dining to Iowa.  Kurt sold the restaurant in late 2017, and it continues to thrive.  Get to know Devotay here.