Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck, Los Angeles, California, USA, on September 15, 2012
Born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig
(1949-07-08) July 8, 1949
Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria
Education Apprenticeship
Spouse(s) Marie France Trouillot (1975-1980; divorced)
Barbara Lazaroff (1983-2003; divorced)
Gelila Assefa (2007-present)
Children 4

Culinary career

Cooking style California, French, and Fusion

Wolfgang Johannes Puck (born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig; July 8, 1949) is an Austrian-born American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and occasional actor. Wolfgang Puck restaurants, catering services, cookbooks and licensed products are handled by Wolfgang Puck Companies, with three divisions.[1]

Life and career

Wolfgang Puck was born in Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria.[2] He learned cooking from his mother, who sometimes worked as a pastry chef.[3][4] When his mother remarried, he took the name of his adoptive father Josef Puck.[5] He trained as an apprentice under Raymond Thuilier at L'Oustau de Baumanière in Les Baux-de-Provence, at Hotel 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 at Ma Maison restaurant.

Following the 1981 publication of his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen 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 encompasses over 20 fine dining restaurants, 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 California (along with famous people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson).

Wolfgang Puck is active in philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations, co-founding 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 for the "Five Star Sensation" Benefit in Cleveland, Ohio, helping every two years to bring $10 million to support The Ireland Cancer Foundation of University Hospitals.

Wolfgang Puck's favorite food is macaroons.[6]

Wolfgang Puck's signature dish at his original restaurant, Spago, is House Smoked Salmon Pizza.

Wolfgang Puck married designer Gelila Assefa in 2007. He has four children, two from his second marriage and two with Assefa. His second wife, Barbara, continues to play a role in his restaurants, being instrumental in interior designs of the new restaurants and is also listed by the company as co-founder.[7]

Awards and honors

In 1993, Spago Hollywood was inducted into the Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame.[8] 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.[9]

CUT Beverly Hills was awarded a Michelin star in 2007.

In 2013, Puck was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.[1]

In July 2016, CUT at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore was awarded a Michelin Star.[10]

Puck will receive a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.


A matchbook from Postrio, circa 1995


Wolfgang Puck at the 2009 Academy Awards

Television and movie credits

Mentioned by the character Richard Thornburg in Die Hard (1988), played by William Atherton, when on the phone to someone he wishes to take to a restaurant. He says, "Of course we can get a table. I know Wolfgang personally. I interviewed him."

See also


  1. 1 2 "Wolfgang Puck Inducted". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. Sissons, Jemima (August 26, 2011). "Wolfgang Puck's Kitchen Adventures". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  3. Chang, Andrea (March 7, 2010). "Strong-willed top chef". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  4. Peck, Tom (1 November 2011). "Obama's favourite chef to open new restaurant in UK". The Independent. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  5. "Wolfgang Puck Inducted". Culinary Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  6. Wolfgang Puck, Wolfgang Puck answers 10 questions published by thefoodpaper.com
  7. "About interior designer, restaurant designer, restaurateur Barbara Lazaroff of Beverly Hills / Los Angeles". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame
  9. Hallock, Betty (June 25, 2009). "Michelin won't be publishing 2010 guides for L.A. or Las Vegas". Daily Dish. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  10. "Singapore's Michelin-starred restaurants: A listing". The Straits Times. The Straits Times. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  11. "Chef Wolfgang Puck - Spago Restaurant". Delish. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  12. "Singapore Dining  YourSingapore". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  13. "CUT By Wolfgang Puck - Bahrain Restaurant - Four Seasons". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  14. "The Source Washington DC :: Wolfgang Puck Asian Fusion Restaurant". Wolfgangpuck.com. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  15. and Wolfgang Puck Pizzaria and Cucina
  16. TV guide http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/wolfgang-puck/216655
  17. IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0716908/
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