Restaurateur Wolfgang Puck of Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group - Biography

Washington, D.C.,

May 2012

Wolfgang Puck attributes his love for cooking to his mother, who is a chef herself. As a child growing up in Austria, he was often at her side in the kitchen and began formal culinary training at fourteen. Early in his career, Puck worked at venerable restaurants in Europe such as Maxim's in Paris, the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, and the three-Michelin-starred L'Oustau de Baumanière in Provence. Then at 24, Puck packed up his chef’s knives and headed to the US. After two years at La Tour in Indianapolis, Puck moved to Los Angeles as chef and later part-owner of Ma Maison. Under his stewardship, the restaurant became the place to see-and-be-seen in West Hollywood.

After Ma Maison, Puck opened Spago on the Sunset Strip in 1982, defining seasonal, Californian, ingredient-driven food. For Spago, Puck won the James Beard Outstanding Chef of the Year in both 1991 and 1998, the only chef to have won the award twice, and the James Beard Restaurant of the Year award in 1994. Following Spago, Puck opened Chinois in Santa Monica in 1983 to showcase Asian flavors and the contemporary American restaurant Postrio in San Francisco in 1989. In 1997, Puck moved Spago to Beverly Hills, updated the menu, and, in turn, earned two Michelin stars. In 2006, Puck created CUT, a contemporary steakhouse in the Beverly Wilshire, which earned him one Michelin star.

Puck has further expanded his restaurant empire, opening multiple branches of Spago and CUT, and he is now owner of dozens of casual and fine dining establishments around the country. In addition, Puck is the author of six cookbooks, writes the syndicated newspaper column “Wolfgang Puck’s Kitchen”, and has developed several lines of commercial foods. In 2012, Puck was presented the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.