The Hollywood Reporter's 20 Most Influential Chefs in Hollywood
Somewhere in between heading up 1970s industry commissary Ma Maison and catering the Academy Awards' Governors Ball for the past 19 years, Puck has come to export California cuisine worldwide and pioneered what it means to be a multi-platform, branded chef.
Perched at the center of his domain is Spago (opened in 1982, moved to 176 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills in 1997), which sparked the advent of casual fine dining. The energetic, impish Puck went on to found more than 20 upscale restaurants spanning D.C. to Dallas and Detroit and was the first to create the equivalent of a diffusion line to his couture touchstone Spago with 80 fast-food Wolfgang Puck Express outlets. He also acted as the leading edge in bringing serious culinary cred to TV chefdom (from the usual Top Chef and Iron Chef guest stints to a cameo on The Simpsons).
"Food in L.A. has totally changed mainly because now we have so many chef-owned restaurants. In the old times, like Chasen's, it had to be very formal, like being at your grandmother's. Now, young chefs do whatever they feel like, and it's much more exciting than it ever was."
Favorite dishes of regulars Christina Aguilera and Jerry Weintraub: Aguilera likes the tuna cones at Spago, while Behind the Candelabra producer Weintraub goes for the smoked salmon pizza.
Where else Puck eats: Matsuhisa -- "I always have the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno ponzu sauce."