An interview with Wolfgang Puck is always fascinating, simply because Puck is the quintessential chef, entrepreneur and culinary genius. Usually I like to conduct my own interviews, but I thought John Mitsewich captured some interesting facets of Puck’s personality for Â American Food Guide. John’s interview is a fun read.
What is a typical workday like? How many hours a day do you work? Do you work from one location, or travel around to your various restaurants?
“Iâ€™m the luckiest guy in the world because my work is also my hobby. So whether Iâ€™m starting early in the morning, or finishing late at night, I love the restaurant business. I certainly have to travel a lot to our different locations from Maui to Atlantic City, and the only thing I donâ€™t like is meetings with accountants, lawyers, or attending board meetings.”
Why do you think youâ€™ve had such staying power in the Hollywood dining scene, when other chefs and trendy restaurants come and go so fast?Â
“We are not a trendy restaurant or bar like so many of the others we see opening over the years. We are all about quality and in the end, quality will win out and stay around for a longer time.”Â
Youâ€™ve recently expanded your prepared food offerings to include four new appetizers; pork spring rolls, arancini, shrimp cakes and chicken pot stickers. How did you decide on these items? How many recipes did you test before settling on these? Are these regular items from your catering business, or were they specifically designed for the retail market?
Â “Most of the new offerings in our food line started in the restaurants like shrimp cakes, potstickers, spring rolls, etc. I only had to decide which ones would hold up the best when you freeze them and which ones were easy to serve. We always taste and test a lot of different appetizers in the restaurant or for our frozen food offerings. Most of the items we selected were already popular in our catering kitchens or we did them for parties at the restaurant, so I thought it would be nice that people can have a wonderful product handy at home.”
You are outspoken in regard to using as many organic and natural ingredients as possible, but how do you respond to people that say they simply canâ€™t afford the added expense? Is there a solution for making these foods a more realistic option for the average American shopper?
“We always try to use only the best ingredients and most of the time, the organic and all natural ingredients are better in taste and better for you. Unfortunately, not everybody can afford all organic or all natural, but I hope that this will be the direction where our food industry goes. And I believe that instead of subsidizing people to grow corn to make fuel, the government should subsidize organic farmers so that schoolchildren will get a healthy delicious meal instead of the unhealthy options they have now.”Â
What is your guilty pleasure? What do you snack on when no one else is around because you don’t want anyone to know?
Â “I love sweets, chocolate, caramel, fruit, you name it. Also, cookies, pies, soufflĂ©s, but – everybody knows about that.”
To read the Â full interview, check out chef and columnist JohnÂ Mitzewich in About.com guide.
– The Gourmet Review