Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wolfgang Puck - Living the Life

Wolfgang Johann Topfschnig more known to the world as Wolfgang Puck is a famous Austrian celebrity chef and restaurateur based in LA. His innovations in cooking have been enjoyed and praised by world leaders, Hollywood stars and fellow chefs alike. Perhaps you will remember him more with his tag line "Live Love Eat" which also is his company’s trademarked motto.

The first cookbook he wrote was Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen based on his Ma Maison recipes on 1981. He then opened a restaurant called "Spago" located on the Sunset Strip in 1982. Wolfgang’s first signature dish, gourmet pizza topped with smoked salmon and caviar, put him and Spago on the Los Angeles foodie map. Spago Beverly Hills, Wolfgang’s flagship fine dining restaurant, opened in 1997, maintains a cutting-edge role as a creative culinary force, with a blend of updated Spago classics and Austrian-inspired recipes from Wolfgang’s childhood, using the highest-quality, all-natural and organic local ingredients, whenever possible.

The Wolfgang Puck name stands for innovative tastes, the most healthful food, the humane treatment of animals and genuine hospitality, providing guests with the very best in eating and dining well.

He became so successful that he managed to put up the Wolfgang Puck Companies comprised of three divisions - Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. and Wolfgang Puck Catering. The Wolfgang Puck Companies encompass 15 fine dining restaurants, premium catering services, more than 80 Wolfgang Puck Express operations, and kitchen and food merchandise, including cookbooks and canned foods. He is the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball.

After marking Spago’s 25th anniversary in 2007, Wolfgang evolved his personal passions and philosophies into more formal policies to maintain his demanding standards. In March 2007, Chef Puck and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced that the Wolfgang Puck Companies have begun implementing an historic animal welfare program that’s the first-of-its-kind. Puck’s far-reaching, nine-point program, aimed at curbing many of the worst cruelties associated with factory farming in the United States, will meet the HSUS’ most progressive standards and will cover all Wolfgang Puck lines of business including fine dining group restaurants, express franchises, catering and events and consumer products.

He also made some appearances and cameos on numerous shows including Frasier, a recurring role as himself on Las Vegas and a cameo appearance on The Weather Man. He also appeared on iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters, as well as Cooking Class with Wolfgang Puck on The Food Network which I always watch. He was also shown on American Idol during the season finale episode.
Chef Puck has been a regularly featured guest on Good Morning America for nearly 20 years. His fine dining influence is even prominent in the fictional hotel-casino, The Montecito, on NBC’s Las Vegas. The show includes a replica of a Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Wolfgang has been honored with many awards and accolades, including the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year, twice, plus Outstanding Restaurant of the Year for Spago Beverly Hills and Outstanding Service Award for Spago, Beverly Hills. His Food Network program, .Wolfgang Puck, won Daytime Emmy Awards for two consecutive years.

Wolfgang Puck Catering, established in May 1998, headquartered in the Hollywood & Highland. For more than a decade, Chef Puck, along with partner Carl Schuster, and his Wolfgang Puck Catering (WPC) company have created the cuisine for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' post-Oscar-show Governor’s Ball, the official party of the Academy Awards. In addition to the Governor’s Ball, WPC caters numerous movie premieres, galas, fashion shows, charity functions and corporate and entertainment events, as well as in-home catering.

With new venues opening every few months, Wolfgang Puck Catering has become one of the fastest growing catering companies in the country. Chef Puck and WPC are committed the Seafood Watch Program, which allows WPC to offer sustainable seafood options on their catering menus.

Chef Puck also oversees Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. which was established to manage global brand strategy across his business activities in his fast-casual Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express restaurants, as well as consumer packaged goods, kitchen appliances and utensils, book publishing, media content and licensing.
The Express restaurants emphasize quality and freshness and offer Wolfgang’s authentic recipes and menu innovation at affordable prices. Launched in 1991, Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express has since expanded to more than 80 locations in major urban and suburban retail centers, airports and supermarkets throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.

Wolfgang’s empire includes branded cookware, utensils and appliances sold on Home Shopping Network, Sam's Club and the Frontgate catalogue. Other packaged goods include Wolfgang Puck All-Natural pizza, All-Natural and Organic Wolfgang Puck Soups, Stocks and Broths and Wolfgang Puck’s Coffee.

Wolfgang has published six popular cookbooks; including his most recent Wolfgang Puck makes it Easy. His weekly syndicated newspaper column, Wolfgang Puck’s Kitchen debuted in Tribune newspapers in 2003 and now appears in more than 30 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada with a combined circulation of more than 5.3 million.

Puck is active in philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations. He is the co-founder of Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation in 1982. The foundation supports the annual American Wine & Food Festival which benefits Meals on Wheels and has raised more than $15 million since it started.

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