Wolfgang Puck

Culinary Articles » Famous Chefs

Born January 8, 1949
St. Veit, Austria
Cooking Style California, French, and Fusion
Education Apprenticeship
Restaurants Spago Hollywood; Spago Beverly Hills; Spago Tokyo; Spago Chicago; Spago Las Vegas; Spago Palo Alto; Chinois (Santa Monica, CA); Postrio Restaurant (San Francisco and Las Vegas); Granita (Malibu, CA); Trattoria del Lupo (Las Vegas); Wolfgang Puck Cafes (multiple)
TV Show(s) Iron Chef America, Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class

Wolfgang Johann Puck (born 8 July 1949) is an Austrian-American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and businessman based in Los Angeles, California.


Wolfgang was born in St. Veit (Austria) to Maria Topfschnig and a well-to-do butcher who abandoned her before their child's birth. Maria later married Josef Puck in April 1956, who adopted Wolfgang. The marriage produced another son and two daughters.

Wolfgang Puck began cooking pastries at his mother's side. She was an occasional professional cook, and Wolfgang decided to follow into her profession. He did not begin his training at a culinary school, instead training since age 14 under an apprenticeship system. He developed the techniques of French cuisine while an apprentice for Raymound Toulier at L'Oustau de Baumaniere in Provence, Hotel de Paris in Monaco, and Maxim's in Paris. In 1973, Puck began working in New York City, then at La Tour restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana, and moved to Los Angeles with friend, roommate, and fellow chef Guy LeRoy in 1975. He soon became the chef of Ma Maison, establishing the failing restaurant as a respected, popular site frequented by movie stars. He used the techniques of French cuisine on the fresh ingredients available in the area, helping to establish California cuisine as an established gourmet tradition.

Puck owns, operates, or licenses a number of restaurants in the U.S., ranging from the storied Spago, in Beverly Hills to Wolfgang Puck Express, which has become a national franchise. It is a little-known fact that Spago is co-owned with wealthy L.A. restaurant mogul Kevin Perry, who discreetely co-owns some of L.A's top restaurants, including L'Orangerie, The Mandarin, and celebrity co-owned Dolce.

Recently, he also opened franchises in Japan, including six restaurants in Tokyo. His fame and star-like nature helped him to be selected to cater numerous Academy Award parties. Puck has also written a number of cookbooks and licensed lines of household kitchen equipment and grocery items. He appeared as an Iron Chef on Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters on the Food Network.

He made a guest appereance in the sitcom Frasier in 2002, playing himself. A year earlier, he played someone calling in on Frasier's radio show.

Wolfgang Puck did not invent the California-style pizza, but he did make innovative changes to the pizza world and definitely helped establish the California style's distinct pizza taste.

Puck has two sons, Cameron and Byron, with business partner and estranged wife Barbara Lazaroff, who helped him establish his restaurant empire with his first venture, Spago. Puck has another son Oliver (born July 17, 2005) by his fiancée Gelila Assefa.


  • "Live, love, eat!"


  • "Wolfgang Puck: Biography"; WolfgangPuck.com (2005); retrieved January 30, 2006
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