My Life In Food: Wolfgang Puck

 

One of the most influential chefs in the world, Puck has more than 20 fine-dining restaurants dotted around the world, one of which, Spago in Beverly Hills, has two Michelin stars. For the past 18 years, he has been the caterer for the Oscars.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

My most used piece of kit is a griddle. It's electric and you can control the temperature of it down to the degree. Last night I used it to cook lamb chops for my children and quesadilla for me. I don't use pots and pans that much for that type of cooking, really. It is a lot easier, more convenient, to just use a griddle. Least used is my electric mixer. It has literally never been used. I don't bake bread or make that many cakes, so it is quite unloved. I bought it convinced I needed one, but I was obviously wrong.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I grew up on a farm, so I love fresh vegetables and fruits. So I'd spend the money on either of those before going for fish or meat. I'd probably get them from either the farmers' market in Santa Monica or the smaller one near my house in Beverly Hills. Both are wonderful. It nice to get down there and see the produce close up.

What do you eat for comfort?

Comfort food for me is Wiener schnitzel. Or alternatively fried chicken. Both are foods I grew up eating as a child in Klagenfurt in the southern part of Austria. They are made in a similarly simple way, too: you just fry them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Even though I grew up on a potato farm it would definitely be bread. To me, bread is life. Today we have so many different varieties, such high-quality stuff. It is nothing like when I was young, when we would buy one loaf for the week and by the time it was nearly finished it would be stale. You know, though, I love mashed potatoes and crispy French fries, which I dip into sauce.

What's your desert island recipe?

It would be my take on béarnaise sauce. Whenever I have a steak and chips I have this on the chips. It is very simple: you take your béarnaise sauce and add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard for each person. It gives it a little zing, and counters that overwhelming richness that you sometimes get with béarnaise. If, however, it was hot on my island I'd want the ingredients for a margarita cocktail.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I love collecting old cookbooks. The French guys are my favourites. People like Brillat-Savarin or Curnonsky, I return to them again and again. That isn't to say I don't like modern ones. Heston Bluementhal's books are beautiful things, too. That said, my overall favourite will always be Brillat-Savarin's La Physiologie Du Gout (The Physiology of Taste).

What is your favourite restaurant?

I love my restaurant Cut in London. We have so many customers who know about wine, who know about food properly there. It is interesting for me to see the difference between England and the US. London has come a long way – I sort of prefer going to London than I do Paris these days, it has a very good food scene.

Who taught you to cook?

My mother was a professional chef, so she was obviously a large influence. Then there was Raymond Thuillier at Baumanière, he was my mentor. And what a man he was. He was not only a chef/owner, but the mayor of town, and he wrote cook books and was a painter. He was a renaissance man.

News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
News
Youngsters around the country living it up in des-res two-storey garden mansions with a balcony
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Extras
indybest
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

    Sports coaching volunteer jobs

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

    Turtle Nesting and Coral Reef Conservation in Borneo

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...

    Elephant research project in Namibia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...

    Day In a Page

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

    Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

    Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
    Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

    Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

    The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
    Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

    Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

    The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
    Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

    Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

    This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
    Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

    Education: Secret of Taunton's success

    Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
    10 best smartphones

    10 best smartphones

    With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal