Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck – Celebrity in a Chef Jacket

Wolfgang Puck learned cooking from his mother, who was a professional chef,  in his native Austria. When he was fourteen years old he began his formal  training and worked in a uniform jacket at some of the greatest restaurants in  France, including Paris’s Maxim’s, Monaco’s Hotel de Paris, and Provence’s  Michelin three-star L’Oustau de Baumaniere. He came to the United States at age  twenty-four, and he worked at Indianapolis’ La Tour for two years. In 1975 he  moved to Los Angeles where he quickly attracted the attention of Hollywood’s  elite as the chef, and eventually the part-owner, of West Hollywood’s Ma Maison.  His culinary genius and his dynamic personality bridged tradition and  imagination, and made the Ma Maison a popular gathering spot for L.A.’s rich and  famous – with Wolfgang as its star attraction.

His innate understanding of California cuisine’s potential was decisive in  the rise of California cooking style to national attention in the 1970’s.  Wolfgang opened Spago, his flagship enterprise on West Hollywood’s Sunset  Strip, in 1982. From day one it was a tremendous success, featuring signature  dishes such as pizzas topped with caviar and smoked salmon, and baby lamb with  rosemary and braised greens. Spago put Wolfgang on the culinary map not  only in Los Angeles, but world-wide: Wolfgang won the James Beard Foundation  Award for the Outstanding Chef of the Year two times – in 1991 and again in 1998  – the only chef to have won Outstanding Chef of the Year twice; and Spago won 1994’s James Beard Foundation Award for the Restaurant of the Year.

Following upon Spago‘s success, Wolfgang put on his chef jacket and  opened Santa Monica’s Chinois in 1983. Fusing the Asian products and  flavors of L.A.’s Chinatown, Koreatown, and Thaitown with his own French and  California based style of cooking, Chinois was the birthplace of Asian  fusion cuisine in the United States. Wolfgang opened Postrio, his third  restaurant, in 1989 in San Francisco’s Prescott Hotel. Like ChinoisPostrio reflects the multi-ethnic community which surrounds it.  Emphasizing local ingredients and contemporary American-style cuisine,  Postrio was an immediate success in the competitive culinary climate of  Northern California.

Wolfgang moved the original Spago to Beverly Hills in 1997. The new  Spago, in its elegant CaÅ^on Drive setting, blazed new culinary trails by  updating classical Spago dishes and including newly-invented recipes,  together with some of Wolfgang’s Austrian childhood favorites such as  Kaiserschmarren and Wienerschnitzel. Beverly Hills’s Spago has won two  Michelin stars (only three restaurants in Los Angeles have achieved this  distinction). Wolfgang opened CUT, a haute cuisine steakhouse at the  Beverly Wilshire, in 2006; and after only a year CUT won its first  Michelin star.

Since 1986 when Wolfgang became a regular feature of ABC television’s Good  Morning America, he has been a celebrity television chef. In 2000 his Emmy  Award winning TV series Wolfgang Puck started on the Food Network, and  ran for five years. Besides making guest appearances on many TV talk shows, his  biography aired on A&E Network’s Biography series. Wolfgang is also a  well-known celebrity in a uniform polo on the Home Shopping Network where he  demonstrates his recipes with his Wolfgang Puck-brand cookware.