5 Facts about Wolfgang Puck that will Surprise You

Chef to the stars Wolfgang Puck, in town recently for Marina Bay Sands’ annual Epicurean Market food-and-wine fiesta, is the driving force behind signature restaurants Spago Dining Room , Spago Bar & Lounge and CUT at the integrated resort. He also caters for Hollywood A-listers and global luminaries on a regular basis. But there is more to the master chef than seems apparent. Here are five facts about Puck you never knew.

1. He made his name with Spago

Wolfgang Puck revolutionised fine dining when he opened the first Spago in 1982, on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The restaurant laid the foundations for Californian cuisine, banking on fresh local produce, lower prices, and a melange of global flavours such as Japanese, Chinese, French and Italian. There was also an open kitchen in the dining room, which few diners had seen before. Spago was an immediate sensation, and reports claim that 21 Rolls-Royces fought for parking spots on opening night.

2. He has catered the Governors Ball for 26 years

The star-studded official afterparty of the Oscars, attended by Hollywood’s biggest and brightest, has featured Puck’s culinary masterpieces for more than a quarter of a century. These include his famous pizzas, slider burgers, smoked salmon and chicken pot pies. He recalls how Barbra Streisand once told him that his signature black truffle chicken pot pie was the best thing she had ever eaten. Puck and his team feed up to 6,000 guests at each edition of this event.

3. He is an Emmy-award winner

Yes, you read right. Puck’s self-titled 2001 cooking show on the Food Network channel won him a Daytime Emmy Award. The Austrian-born chef is no stranger to television, having hosted and starred in various cooking shows. He has also played himself on TV serials such as CSI: Las Vegas, The Simpsons and Frasier, while his movie appearances include The Smurfs, The Weather Man and The Muse.

 

4. He thrives on innovation

Even with scores of restaurants under his belt, Puck refuses to rest on his laurels, keeping his recipes unique and fresh. At Spago Bar & Lounge, for instance, Singaporean and global flavours come together in playful combinations. The popular K.B.L.T puts a Korean spin on the sandwich classic by incorporating Korean braised pork belly and gochujang aioli. Local flavours in the form of the Chicken “Laksa” Spring Roll with laksa leaf and chilli padi also make an appearance and are popular with diners.

5. Retirement is far from his mind

The 70-year-old Puck says he “wouldn’t know what to do” when he stops working. “Sometimes people ask me, why I don’t just sell everything?” he says. “Well, it would be like selling my children—very difficult. I always worry that one day I would get bored, that I wouldn’t like to cook anymore. But it hasn’t happened. I still love it just as much as I did 40 years ago.”