Austrian born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig began cooking at his mother's side as a child. His mother married Josef Puck who then adopted Wolfgang. His formal training began at the age of 14 peeling potatoes in the kitchen of a local hotel. A few years later, Puck traveled to France and blossomed under his mentor and idol Raymond Thuillier, chef and owner of the Michelin 3-starred L'Oustau de Baumanière in Provence, France. He noted Chef Thuillier's style to mingle in the dinning room to greet his guests. This lesson on hospitality was not lost on Puck.
At the age of 24, Wolfgang Puck left Europe for the United States. A few years later, he arrived in Hollywood where his dynamic personality and culinary brilliance made him an instant magnet for the rich and famous. Wearing impeccable chef's whites, Puck rubbed elbows in the dinning room with the Hollywood elite and in due course became the star attraction himself.
When Wolfgang Puck talks with countryman Arnold Schwarzenegger, it' is a “Look at that” and “I'll be back” event in a similar sounding Germanic drawl. Österreicher Deutsch, a dialect of German is their top “secret” language.
Awards and honors given to Wolfgang Puck include the two James Beard awards, multiple Michelin stars and a Daytime Emmy Award for an outstanding service show.
Wolfgang Puck's enterprises includes around 100 restaurants and is estimated to employ 5,000 and generate $400 million in sales annually. Forbes included Puck in their 2007 celebrity 100 list.
He grew up poor in Austria. That was another lesson not lost on Puck. Wolfgang is actively involved in many charitable organizations, including his own Wolfgang Puck-Barbara Lazaroff Charitable Foundation. Each year since 1983 the foundation hosts the annual American Wine & Food Festival, which has benefited the Meals-on-Wheels programs of Los Angeles and has raised more than $13 million over the past two decades.
For more information: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/