“Live, love, eat!” says Wolfgang Puck, the man who is probably one of the pioneers of celebrity chefdom. With his thick Austrian accent (think of Governor Arnie, his compatriot), and somewhat wooden tv persona, one could wonder how Wolfgang Puck has managed to build a food empire.
Aside from his iconic restaurants from Beverly Hills to Tokyo, Puck has written many cookbooks, has his own cooking shows (as well as played himself in several movies and television shows like American Idol and Frasier), and sells ready-made food and sauces under is own label “Wolfgang Puck”. On top of that, he also now has a line called the Wolfgang Puck Bistro which sells own-name appliances, kitchen tools and cookware!
Wolfgang Puck was born in Sankt Veit an der Glan in Austria as Wolfgang Topfschnig. His father, a well-off butcher left them after his birth, and his mother later remarried Josef Puck, who adopted Wolfgang. His mother, a part-time professional cook, taught the young Wolfgang the art of pastry-making, and probably inspired him to follow the in the same career.
Without formal training, Wolfgang worked as apprentice to some notable chefs in France, in Provence (L’Oustau de Baumaniere) and Paris (Maxim’s). After more stints in New York and Indianapolis, Puck found himself in California where he brought new life into Ma Maison, which went from failure to becoming a revered celebrity haunt, followed by the now-legendary Spago.
Wolfgang Puck must have a way celebrities, and this, along with his obvious business acumen, and natural flair for food (he is known for innovating the distinct flavour of the “California Pizza” has made Hollywood’s favourite chef what he is today.