Wolfgang Puck is a known American celebrity born in Austria, who became known for his skills as a chef. He is also an owner of many companies connected to food, a writer of cookbooks and owner of restaurants.

Early years

He was born as Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig on July 8, 1949 in a town of Sankt Veit on der Glan, in the Austrian State named Carinthia.

He was introduced to cooking from a very early age, since his mother was a pastry chef. After his mother remarried, he decided to take the surname of her new husband: his stepdad Josef Puck.

He was supported in his love for cooking, both in the family and in school. He became an aprentice in a „Hotel de Paris“ in Monaco. After that he trained in a Parisian restaurant called Maxim’s.

In 1973, when he was 24 years old, he decided to relocate to the United States where he wanted to find his opportunity as a chef.

He was always creative and interested in making something new and he realized that the United States were the perfect place for that since they were open to new ideas and creativity at that time.

Career development

His first job was in a restaurant in Indianapolis name d“La Tour“ but after two years of working there and getting to know America’s way of life and the taste of American he decided to move all the way to Los Angeles because he got an offer to become a chef in a restaurant „Ma Maison“.

While in France, he was an apprentice of the famous Raymond Thuilier. He died in 1993.

In 1981, he published his first cookbook which soon became very popular. It was titled „Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen“. The whole book included his recipes from „Ma Maison“ restaurant, where he was a part owner.

Next year, he opened a new restaurant called „Spago“ alongside his partner Barbara Ellen Lazaroff. She is a born New Yorker and a known designer.

Her main work at “Spago” was the design. She was the pioneer of “exibition kitchen” which was the first ever in New York. Her design was soon copied and she became an awarded designer.

“Spago” soon became a restaurant where you had to search for a free table. It became popular and the word about it spread.

Wolfgang made some signature dishes which made people come back again and Barbara was the main designer of the place and she made it look awesome.

In 1997, the restaurant moved to Beverly Hills where it became one of the hottest restaurants ever.

Beverly Hills is a part of Los Angeles where only rich and famous lived so the word about “Spago” spread really fast and soon the restaurant was full at almost all time.

The restaurant was honored with being enlisted into Top 40 American restaurants. This restaurant gained two Michelin stars in 2008 and 2009. These stars (two out of the highest three a restaurant can get) have put his restaurant at the top of American cuisine.

The restaurant was such a success that Wolfgang earned a lot of money so he started his own business. He has launched Wolfgang Puck Companies which included catering and worldwide franchise.

One of his big success is that he became the official caterer for events connected with Academy Awards. This brings his food in the center of attention every year at Oscar’s and is a great advertisement for his work.

He also tried himself as an actor. He had roles in a comedy TV series „Frasier“, a role in a series „Las Vegas“ and in 2005 he had a small role in „The Weather Man“ with Nicholas Cage.

He performed as himself in 2002 series “Frasier” in an episode called “Proposal” where he was hired to cook a romantic dinner. He gained his own TV show called „Iron Chef USA“. It is really an adaptation of the same named series which was first created in Japan. Unfortunately, this show wasn’t as succesfull in America as it is in Japan.

He was often in commercials, the most popular was the one where he advertised California state with other celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson.

In 1991, Wolfgang opened „Granita“, his fourth restaurant, in Malibu which sold only seafood. The design was inspired by “The Little Mermaid”, but the restaurant closed it’s doors in 2005.

Puck is known as a big philanthropist. In 1982, he has started his own organization with Lazaroff. It was named „Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation“. He is also involved in the work of „Five Star Sensation“ charity organization from Cleveland.

Every chef has his signature dish. Puck’s signatture dish is a very tasty „House Smoked Salmon Pizza“ which he made at Spago.

In 2002, Puck became a winner of Day Time Emmy Award for his show “Wolfgang Puck”. He was very proud of his achievement and so were his kids.

In 2013, he received a prestigious award and was inducted in an institution which honors chefs: „The Culinary Hall of Fame“.

In 2017, he even got a star on the „Hollywood Walk of Fame“. He is the second chef to receive this honor, the first was Bobby Flay.

He has published seven books. After the success of „Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen“ in 1980, he has released „The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook“ in 1986.

Five years later came „Adventures in the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck“. In 2000, he published „Pizza, Pasta and More“.

In 2002, his fifth book came out under the title „Live, Love, Eat“.

The sixth one was in 2004 and it was called „Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy“.

In 2009, a known LA trainer Chad Waterbur<, started training with Wolfgang Puck who has lost 20 pounds and started leading a healthier lifestyle.

Puck likes recreation and the rest of his free time is devoted to playing tennis.

That brought his new book „Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy“. He decided to lose weight, start training and cooks more healthy meals. He has lost 10 kgs after he embraced the new healthier food and started working out some simple exercises.

He has a column called „Wolfgang Puck’s Kitchen“ released in Tribune which can be read online.

He is often demonstrating recipes for his own line of houseware on the Home Shopping Network.

He was a guest on numerous TV shows such as shows with David Letterman and Jay Leno. He was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he shared some personal information.

In 2016, he launched „Wolfgang Puck Cooking School“. He has devoted a part of his free time to teach enthusiasts everything about his cuisine.

Personal life

In 1983, Wolfgang married Barbara Lazaroff who was also his business partner. They got divorced after 20 years of marriage, in 2003.

Barbara and Wolfgang have two kids together and they are still on good terms although they are divorced.

In 2007, Wolfgang married a designer named Gelila Assefa and they also have two kids from this marriage.

His four sons are named Cameron Puck, Byron Puck, Oliver Wolfgang Puckand Alexander Wolfgang Puck.

Quick summary

Full name: Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig

Date of birth: July 8, 1949

Birthplace: Sankt Veit on der Glan, Carinthia, Austria

Age: 69

Profession: chef, author, restaurant owner, businessman

Height: 1,72 m

Weight: NA

Net Worth: $70 million