Hollywood Power Lunch Spots 2016: Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck Dish on Dining-Room Drama

THR Thomas Keller Wolfgang Puck  _ARG1585 1 - H 2016
Austin Hargrave

THR Thomas Keller Wolfgang Puck  _ARG1585 1 - H 2016

Puck — a proprietor of more than 20 fine-dining establishments worldwide — and Keller — owner of French bistro Bouchon — reveal where they'd go for a meal in Los Angeles.

Wolfgang Puck, now the proprietor of more than 20 fine-dining establishments worldwide, first met fellow chef-restaurateur Thomas Keller when the latter was cooking at downtown Los Angeles' Checkers Hotel in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, Keller rocketed to culinary fame with his French Laundry in Northern California's Napa Valley.

These days, Puck's flagship Spago sits across the street from Keller's acclaimed French bistro Bouchon, the twin anchors of Canon Drive's bustling lunch scene. At both places, guests are on their best behavior at lunch — most of the time.

"We had somebody escorted outside by the police yesterday," laughs Puck, 66. "They'd started screaming." Keller, 60, shrugs: "Drama in the dining room with guests usually only happens when somebody's sitting at somebody else's perceived table and you get a little bit of a catfight going on. That's the worst of it."

As for the two longtime friends and culinary icons, their globe-trotting schedules don't allow them to lunch much together. But they know where they'd go if they could: if walking, Canon newcomer Wally's, right up the street; if driving, Matsuhisa, a mile and a half east. Jokes Keller, "We wouldn't need to fight about it."

This story first appeared in the May 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.