- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Hollywood’s favorite chef, Wolfgang Puck, has been handed the food-and-beverage keys to one of its most storied luxury lodgings: The grand Hotel Bel-Air, which just reopened following an extensive two-year renovation and facelift by the Dorchester Collection, the same company that runs The Beverly Hills Hotel.
The top toque’s signature restaurant, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, is an indoor-outdoor redoubt off the lobby doling out entrees like braised Wagyu cheeks with smoked onion marmalade and apple horseradish. The space bears rotating artwork from blue-chip L.A. gallery Ace (acrylic pieces by Gary Lang are currently on view) and a clean-lined but not stark modernized decor by A-list New York designer David Rockwell.
The Hollywood Reporter talks to Puck about the Hotel Bel-Air’s new menu, fresh look—and why, even with 20 fine-dining restaurants currently in his business basket, he’s still not yet sated.
The Hollywood Reporter: You’ve already got Cut at the Beverly Wilshire and WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton downtown. What’s your plan for the Hotel Bel-Air?
Wolfgang Puck: Well, it’s an iconic property — not only in Southern California but in the world; everybody knows about it — so the food is going to really have to fit into the location: Spanish and Italian influences, typical California fresh-from-the-farm and from the market to the table.
THR: Peter Guber famously ordered room service at his adjacent home for decades. Will you continue the tradition?
Puck: Yeah, for sure! I will run up myself so I can get some exercise.
THR: Some longtime Hotel Bel-Air regulars have voiced concern that the redo may have gone a bit too modern.
Puck: You know, people come in — from Larry King to some other neighbors — and they love the bar and think the outside [foliage] just has to grow in a little bit more. It really feels comfortable. People always resists change; I love change. I think it was time to modernize it. A club can get too old, from the Friars Club to Chasen’s — you know, they had clubbiness but no customers [toward the end].
THR: What’s your next big focus?
Puck: We are going to redo Spago. The sixteenth of January we are going to be 30 years old. Can you believe that? We’ve survived longer than a lot of restaurants.
THR: Waldo Fernandez, who designed Soho House’s West Hollywood outpost, is said to have gotten the gig.
Puck: He did a great job with Trumps [in 1980 on Melrose]. It was the first really chic restaurant, all very modern-looking. I fell in love with it. I’m happy to be working with him.
THR: You seem to constantly be in forward motion, expanding your empire. Why not just take it easy after all of these years?
Puck: I just talked to my sister and she said, “Why don’t you retire already?” So I told her, “For me, the biggest excitement — next to sex — is probably opening restaurants.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Mindy Kaling, Bruce Springsteen, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Among Honorees of White House’s National Medals of Arts
Ed Sheeran Goes on Intimate Journey in New Disney+ Docuseries ‘Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All’
Mark Twain Prize
Adam Sandler’s Starry Friends Toast His Comic Legacy as He Receives Mark Twain Humor Prize
Jason Ritter Jokes His First Hollywood Job Was a “Full-on Nepotism Hire” Thanks to His Dad John Ritter