Every night, the world’s cooks subject themselves to the heat and pressure of the professional kitchen. We wanted to turn up the pressure on them in a different way, subjecting them to our rapid-fire interview about travel, food, and pop culture. In this episode, we talk legendary chef and entrepreneur Wolfgang Puck, who created LA’s enduring fine dining icon Spago, while also opening restaurants worldwide.
Sweet or savory breakfast?
In Austria we grew up with sweets, so still to this day I favor something sweet.
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
I saw the Rolling Stones in the ’60s in Klagenfurt in Austria and it was the most amazing music. And then a few years later in Marseille, I saw Pink Floyd at the Velodrome, a big soccer stadium.
Most underrated food city in America?
I really believe Chicago is the most underrated food city. Chicago has more interesting restaurants than almost any city anywhere in the world.
What’s your most prized possession?
Most of what I love is my house and not that I possess my wife and my kids, they are the ones that make me happy.
Guilty pleasure TV show?
If television didn’t come to me to make money, there would be no television for me.
Whom did you idolize as a kid?
As a kid, even before I started cooking I remember John Wayne in the movies. I didn’t see many movies but for his. To see John Wayne as a cowboy, seeing America, it was an amazing inspiration for me to say I want to go to America and see what’s going on.
What was your first car?
My first car was in the south of France. It was a Ford Anglia. I demolished after like six months. It was snowing and told everybody, “I’m from Austria, I know how to drive in the snow!” But I didn’t have a driver’s license or a car in Austria, so I went to a curve and I went up the hill, and it was icy with a little snow, and the car just rolled down to the street!
What’s one place you haven’t traveled where you’d really like to go?
I really would like to go to Buenos Aires and Lima. I think those are two food cities with great history, great culture and I really want to see them.
Ferrari or Lamborghini?
I think I’m traditional, so I’ll go with the Ferrari. As long as you can get me one from the ’50s, I’ll take it.