Wolfgang Johannes Puck (né Topfschnig; born July 8, 1949) is an Austrian-born American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and occasional actor. Born in Austria, Puck moved to the United States at the age of 24. In 1973, Puck moved to Los Angeles, opening his first restaurant, Spago in 1982.
Life and Career
Wolfgang Puck was born in Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria. He learned cooking from his mother, who was a pastry chef. He took the surname of his stepfather, Josef Puck, after his mother’s remarriage. He trained as an apprentice under Raymond Thuilier at L'Oustau de Baumanière in Les Baux-de-Provence, at Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, and at Maxim's Paris before moving to the United States in 1973 at age 24. After two years at La Tour in Indianapolis, Puck moved to Los Angeles to become chef and part owner of Ma Maison restaurant.
Following the 1981 publication of his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen which was based on his Ma Maison recipes, Puck and Barbara Lazaroff opened the restaurant Spago on the Sunset Strip in 1982. Fifteen years later, in 1997, Puck and Lazaroff moved the award-winning Spago to Beverly Hills. It has been recognized as one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. since 2004. His success enabled him to launch the Wolfgang Puck Companies which includes the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. and Wolfgang Puck Catering. The Wolfgang Puck Companies encompass over 20 fine dining restaurants, among the top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., premium catering services, more than 80 Wolfgang Puck Express operations, and kitchen and food merchandise, including cookbooks, canned foods, and coffee products. He is the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball, and has parlayed his celebrity into acting; his credits include Frasier, a recurring role as himself on Las Vegas and a cameo appearance in The Weather Man. He also appeared as himself on Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters, as well as Cooking Class with Wolfgang Puck on The Food Network, and in an American Idol season finale episode where he introduced unusual foods to Kellie Pickler in comic relief segments. He also made a cameo appearance as himself on an episode of Tales from the Crypt, and appeared in a TV commercial advertising the state of California (along with famous people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson).
In 1991, Puck opened his fourth restaurant, Granita, a seafood restaurant in Malibu, California. The restaurant was later closed in 2005.
Since 2003, Puck's recipes have been syndicated worldwide to newspapers and websites by Tribune Content Agency
Wolfgang Puck is active in philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations. He co-founded the Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation in 1982. The foundation supports the annual American Wine & Food Festival which benefits Meals on Wheels; it has raised more than $15 million since its inception.
Puck is The Honorary Chair Chef of the "Five Star Sensation" benefit in Cleveland, Ohio, which, every two years, helps to bring $10 million to support The Ireland Cancer Foundation of University Hospitals.
Wolfgang Puck's signature dish at his original restaurant, Spago, is House Smoked Salmon Pizza.
Wolfgang Puck married Barbara Lazaroff in 1983 and had two children together. They were divorced in 2003. Barbara Lazaroff continues to play a key role in his restaurants and has been instrumental in their interior design. She is listed by the company as co-founder. In 2007 he married designer Gelila Assefa in Capri, Italy. They currently live in Los Angeles and have four sons: Cameron, Byron, Oliver and Alexander. Puck's favorite food is macaroons.
Awards and Honors
In 1993, Spago Hollywood was inducted into the Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame. The next year it received the James Beard Restaurant of the Year Award.
In 2002, Puck received the 2001–2002 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show, Wolfgang Puck
Spago Beverly Hills received a James Beard Foundation Outstanding Service Award in 2005. It was awarded two Michelin stars in the 2008 and 2009 Los Angeles Michelin Guide.
CUT Beverly Hills was awarded a Michelin star in 2007.
In 2013, Puck was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
In July 2016, CUT at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore was awarded a Michelin Star.
On April 26, 2017, Puck received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for his work in the TV industry, located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.
On May 20, 2017, Puck was named the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) 2017 Gold Plate Winner.
- Spago, Puck's first restaurant opened on the Sunset Strip (1982) serving California cuisine but later relocated to Beverly Hills.
- Spago Istanbul by Wolfgang Puck at St. Regis Istanbul.
- Chinois on Main, Santa Monica, California (1983), Asian fusion.
- Postrio, San Francisco (1989), Mediterranean and Asian fusion.
- Spago, Beverly Hills (1997), known for serving California cuisine. Spago Beverly Hills, Spago Las Vegas, Spago Maui, and Spago Beaver Creek.
- Postrio, Las Vegas.
- Trattoria del Lupo, Las Vegas.
- CUT in London, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Singapore's Marina Bay Sands resort.
- CUT by Wolfgang Puck at The Address Downtown Dubai
- CUT by Wolfgang Puck at Four Seasons Hotels Bahrain Bay
- Five-Sixty is located in Dallas, Texas and features Asian-inspired New American cuisine.
- The Source, Washington, DC, modern interpretation of Asian cuisine located at the Newseum.
- Wolfgang Puck B&G (2009) in Los Angeles.
- Wolfgang Puck at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.
- Museum of Science in Boston.
- Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina, MGM Grand Detroit in Detroit
- Wolfgang Puck Steak, a signature restaurant of MGM Grand Detroit in Detroit.
- Wolfgang Puck American Grille, a signature restaurant located in the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
- Springs Preserve Café, Las Vegas.
- WP24 by Wolfgang Puck located in The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles, modern Chinese cuisine.
- Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria in Cucina, Las Vegas.
- Wolfgang Puck Bistro located in the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California.
- Wolfgang Puck Express:
- JC Penney in Monroeville, Pennsylvania at Monroeville Mall.
- Denver International Airport
- Indianapolis International Airport
- Logan International Airport, Boston
- McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington
- Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio
- Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario
- Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL.
- Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill Summerlin, Las Vegas
- The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck:
- Amway Grand Plaza Hotel,Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Calgary International Airport, Calgary, Alberta
- Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport, Greenville, South Carolina
- Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia
- Washington-Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.
Television and Movie Credits
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: "Last Supper" as himself as the judge for the fictional Elite Chef reality T.V. competition.
- Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series) (Guest Judge) 2011-2012-2014 TV Show Series
- "MasterChef (U.S. season 7) (Guest Judge) 2016 episode 3
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians (Chef to Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries' Wedding)
- The Next Food Network Star (Guest Judge) 2011 TV Show Series
- The Smurfs (Chef Smurf) 2011 Movie
- Top Chef: New York (Guest Judge) 2011 TV Show Series
- Top Chef: Las Vegas (Guest Judge) 2009 TV Show Series
- Celebrity Cooking Showdown (Reality Cast Member) 2006 TV Show Series
- Las Vegas (four episodes) 2006: As Himself
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes (Remarks by) 2005 TV Show Series
- The Weather Man (Actor - Himself) 2005 Movie
- The Simpsons: "The Bart Wants What It Wants" (Guest Star) - 2002 TV Show Series
- Wolfgang Puck series 2001 S
- The Muse (Actor - Himself) 1999 Movie
- Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters
- Frasier: "The Proposal" (Actor - Himself) TV Show Series
- The Jay Leno Show: "Jaywalking" (Himself) October 13, 2009
- Tales from the Crypt: "Werewolf Concerto" (Himself) September 9, 1992
Wolfgang Puck restaurants, catering services, cookbooks and licensed products are handled by Wolfgang Puck Companies, with three divisions: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.