If Wolfgang Puck had been a soldier, he would have been an excellent hero. This world-famous cook, gastronome, author, and actor is the equivalent of a 5-star general in the culinary world.
Since he became self-employed in 1982, he has built a huge tripartite company, the Wolfgang Puck Companies. He has participated in a variety of cooking shows on television and owns over 20 restaurants throughout the United States.
Wolfgang Puck’s Bio
The notorious chef was born on July 8, 1949, with a different surname – Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig – in Carinthia, Austria. According to him, his mother was his earliest culinary inspiration and teacher. Subsequently, the young Johannes Topfschnig underwent serious culinary training at a young age. In these childhood days, apprenticeship years in exotic places like Monaco and Paris followed. After this time, at the age of 24, he moved to the United States to realize his dream of becoming a chef. He began his career at La Tour in Indianapolis at the age of two, followed by another period as co-owner and chef at the Ma Maison restaurant in Los Angeles.
His time in Los Angeles gave Puck the confidence to publish his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen, inspired by his restaurant recipes. This book was published in 1981, and the following year he opened his first restaurant Spago on the Sunset Strip. The immense success of this venture encouraged the food enthusiast to turn it into a complete restaurant chain in the years that followed.
By 2018 Wolfgang has four functioning Spago locations, including the opening restaurant, which he moved to Beverly Hills in 1997. In 2004, the Beverly Hills Restaurant was announced as one of the top 40 restaurants in the USA and has remained on that list ever since.
Wolfgang Puck has restaurants and businesses everywhere, from street corners and airports to hotels and beach promenades. His locations even include the Walt Disney World Resort, the magnificent Ritz-Carlton, and the magnificent MGM Grand Detroit.
In 1993 he had his first restaurant, Spago Hollywood, inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame. In 1994, the same restaurant received the James Beard Award for Restaurant of the Year.
All these successes gave Puck the resources he needed to create a full-fledged company – the Wolfgang Puck Companies. The company operated in three categories: The Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., and Wolfgang Puck Catering. These divisions are concerned with restaurants, licensed products, and businesses, or catering services. Puck is also the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball.
Besides the hectic schedule of his company, Wolfgang Puck has taken time out of his busy schedule to pursue an acting career. He has appeared as a guest actor in television series and films such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Weather Man, and The Smurfs. He also played a recurring role in four episodes in Las Vegas. As a contract chef and caterer for the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, Puck also appeared in the family reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
He has also been a juror on many television food show competitions, including Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, The Next Food Network Star, Top Chef: New York, and Top Chef: Las Vegas. In October 2009 he appeared on the Jay Leno Show.
Wolfgang Puck has released other titles since his first title in 1981. His last book, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy, was published in 2004, as of 2018.
He also donates to charity through his Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation, established in 1982. By 2018, the foundation has raised over $15 million for various philanthropic efforts.
In addition to his restaurants, Wolfgang Puck has received many awards and recognitions for his contributions within and outside the food industry. In 2013 he became a member of the Culinary Hall of Fame. In April 2017 his television efforts earned him his own shining star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Later that year, he was named the winner of the 2017 Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Golden Plate.
Family & Married Life: Wife, Divorce, Children
Puck is married for the third time. He tied the first knot in 1975, at the age of 26. His first wife was a woman named Marie France Trouillot. The marriage lasted until 1980. Sometime later he met Barbara Lazaroff, and in 1983 they married.
Even though the couple separated in 2003, they are still business partners just as they were in the 1980s. The Wolfgang companies still list Barbara as a co-founder, and she continues to make creative and design contributions in the restaurant business.
As of 2018, Puck is married to Gelila Assefa. They got married in 2007. Wolfgang has four children, two each from Barbara and Gelila.