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 run by Wolfgang Puck Companies, with three divisions.
Wolfgang Puck was born in Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria. He learned cooking from his mother, who sometimes worked as a pastry chef. 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 opened the award-winning Spago in Beverly Hills, which 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 and canned foods. 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)...
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