February 4, 2004 |
It was the night before my birthday, and my wife and son and I were having dinner at Spago Beverly Hills. The courses kept coming, one after another, 20 of them in all, and every once in a while, chef Lee Hefter came bounding out of the kitchen -- a spring in his step, a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips. Hefter looks on the kitchen as his personal laboratory, and he approaches it with the fresh-faced exuberance of a high-school sophomore in his first chemistry class.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2003 |
Wolfgang Puck's cafe at the Irvine Spectrum has been sued by its landlord, demanding that it pay $72,000 in back rent or vacate the premises. On May 19, the Irvine Co., which owns and operates the Spectrum through its Irvine Retail Properties company, gave notice to the restaurant for failure to pay the rent, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
December 4, 2002 |
After months, if not years of rumors, the power couple behind the Puck restaurant empire are splitting up. While it's no surprise to friends and those in the food world, it leaves the future of their international group of restaurants and other businesses in limbo. Citing "irreconcilable differences," Barbara Lazaroff filed for divorce from her husband of 19 years, Wolfgang Puck, the day before Thanksgiving. The couple separated Nov. 16, according to court papers.
June 13, 2002 |
Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc. of Beverly Hills has acquired 15 Cucina Cucina cafes and seven Cucina Presto fast-casual outlets from restaurateurs Bill and John Schwartz. Terms of the deal were not announced. Puck, owner and operator of Wolfgang Puck Express and Wolfgang Puck Cafe, said it would run the 22 Italian restaurants, based mostly in the Pacific Northwest, as a separate division. No layoffs or closures are expected.
June 2, 2002 |
Does Wolfgang Puck ever sleep? What with his Food Network show, appearances on "Good Morning America," a new line of wood-fired pizzas and a posse of restaurants from Los Angeles to Chicago and back, it's a wonder that the ebullient Austrian-born chef ever gets in forty winks. A friend once saw him at Spago on a Saturday night, then flew up to San Francisco and decided to have breakfast at Postrio, Puck's San Francisco restaurant. He arrived a few minutes too early. Guess who opened the door?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 2001 |
Surrounded by family photos in her Hawthorne apartment, Martha Pinzon waits for her boss to call. Despite the lingering sadness, she's ready to get to work at the airport. For $7.92 an hour, she'll arrange a ride to LAX, wait in line with passengers to pass security and spend eight hours in the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck's, making salads, soup, sandwiches and pizza. "I like to work with all my friends," Pinzon says. The call doesn't come on this day. But that's OK.
November 16, 2001 |
Wolfgang Puck is just back from Italy with an 827-gram white truffle (that weighs in at about 1.82 pounds), for which he paid a record $19,000 at the annual truffle festival in the town of Alba. The truffle is about the size of a small cantaloupe, but it's knobbly, like a petrified brain. "If I had a brain that large, I would never have bought the truffle," laughs Puck. "But every couple of years I have to have a folly--a little craziness, and this is for a good cause."
April 25, 2001
Mark Carter makes an interesting attempt to reinstall French cuisine as the only candidate for "fine dining" and to blame Wolfgang Puck for its migration from L.A. to San Francisco ('The Trouble With Spago," April 8). It may rather be time to realize that, as good as the French are, their cuisine no longer reigns supreme, to paraphrase the host of the "Iron Chef" TV program. Classic French cuisine depends on meat stocks, wine and fat (mainly dairy fat such as cream and butter) to enhance flavor, a strategy partially employed by American fast food.
March 19, 2001 |
Spago. Can you hold? Spago. Can you hold? Spago. Can you hold? Hello. A table for 8 o'clock? I'm sorry, we're booked. Hello. Sorry, we're full. Hello. Sorry, we're full. Spago. Can you hold? * Groucho Marx once said he didn't want to belong to any club that would accept him as a member.
February 13, 2001 |
The reality of this reality show is that it takes more than a half-hour to get a duck cooked to perfection, chat a little about the best red wines to accompany it, and serve it all up to some happy-to-oblige taste testers. So, there were actually six ducks in various stages of preparedness, ready for their close-ups, during a taping of Wolfgang Puck's new self-titled series on the Food Network. And, as for the wine, well, color was examined, aroma was sniffed, glasses were drained.