he name Wolfgang Puck is synonymous with the best of restaurant hospitality and the ultimate in all aspects of the culinary arts. The famous chef has built an empire that encompasses three separate Wolfgang Puck entities: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.
Puck began cooking at his mother's side as a child. She was a chef in the Austrian town where he was born, and with her encouragement, Wolfgang began his formal training at fourteen years of age. As a young chef he worked in some of France's greatest restaurants, including Maxim's in Paris, the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, and the Michelin 3-starred L'Oustau de Baumanière in Provence. At the age of 24, Wolfgang took the advice of a friend and left Europe for the United States. His first job was at the restaurant La Tour in Indianapolis, where he worked from 1973 to 1975.
Wolfgang came to Los Angeles in 1975 and very quickly garnered the attention of the Hollywood elite as chef and eventually part owner of Ma Maison in West Hollywood. His dynamic personality and culinary brilliance that bridged tradition and invention made Ma Maison a magnet for the rich and famous, with Wolfgang as the star attraction. He had an innate understanding of the potential for California cuisine, and was pivotal in its rise to national attention during the late 1970s.
From Ma Maison, Wolfgang went on to create his first flagship restaurant, Spago, originally located in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. From its opening day in 1982 Spago was an instant success and culinary phenomenon. His early signature dishes, such as haute cuisine pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar, and Sonoma baby lamb with braised greens and rosemary, put him and Spago on the gourmet map, not just in Los Angeles but throughout the world. Wolfgang and Spago earned many accolades during its popular eighteen years in West Hollywood, including winning the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year, twice, in 1991 and 1998, and the James Beard Foundation Award for Restaurant of the Year in 1994. Wolfgang is the only chef to have won the Outstanding Chef of the Year Award two times.
In 1983, following the success of Spago, Puck went on to open Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. His early exposure to Southern California's multicultural population intrigued him, inspiring him to fuse the Asian flavors and products of Koreatown, Chinatown, and Thaitown with his French- and California-based cuisine in a fine dining setting. Chinois on Main brought diners a fresh and imaginative Asian-fusion menu that laid the groundwork for fusion cooking in America.
In 1989, Wolfgang opened his third restaurant, Postrio, in the Prescott Hotel off San Francisco's Union Square. Postrio also draws upon the multi-ethnic nature of its surroundings. Its contemporary American cuisine, with its emphasis on local ingredients, continues to draw rave reviews in Northern California's highly competitive culinary market.
In 1997, Wolfgang moved Spago to an elegant setting on Cañon Drive in Beverly Hills. His Beverly Hills menu blazed new ground, with a combination of updated Spago classics and newly conceived items created by the award-winning talents of Managing Partner/Executive Chef Lee Hefter and Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard. The seasonal menu also draws from Wolfgang's favorite childhood dishes, offering a selection of Austrian specialties such as Wienerschnitzel and Kaiserschmarren. Spago Beverly Hills recently garnered two coveted Michelin Stars, one of only three Los Angeles restaurants to achieve this accolade.
In 2006, Wolfgang opened CUT, a sleek, contemporary steakhouse at the acclaimed Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel. After only one year, CUT earned a prestigious Michelin star.
Wolfgang has changed the way Americans cook and eat by mixing formal French techniques and Asian- and California-influenced aesthetics with the highest quality ingredients. He also has changed the face of dining in cities throughout the nation, first in Los Angeles, then in Las Vegas, where he was the first star chef to create a contemporary fine dining restaurant, paving the way for other celebrated chefs and the city's metamorphosis into a dining destination.
After opening Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars in 1992, Wolfgang went on to open five additional restaurants including Chinois in the Forum Shops at Caesars in 1998, Postrio at The Venetian and Trattoria del Lupo in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in 1999, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at MGM Grand in 2004 and CUT at The Palazzo in 2008.
Since 2001, Wolfgang and his Fine Dining Group have opened restaurants across the United States from Atlantic City (Wolfgang Puck American Grille at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2006) to Maui (Spago at the Four Seasons Resort in 2001). These also include The Source in Washington, DC (2007), Wolfgang Puck Grille at MGM Grand Detroit (2007) and Spago at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Colorado (2007).
Central to all of Wolfgang Puck’s endeavors is his Wolfgang’s Eat, Love, Live ™ (WELL) philosophy. This stands for culinary passion for eating and dining WELL, which means a commitment to provide food made with only the freshest and most natural and organic ingredients available, to celebrate local farmers and seasonal ingredients, and to use only humanely raised animal products.