Pearls of Wisdom: Wolfgang Puck

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Park lane

Wolfgang Puck is one of America's most popular chefs
Wolfgang Puck is one of America's most popular chefs
Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck is among America’s most influential chefs. He now operates 17 fine dining restaurants including the two-star Spago in LA, and is set to open steakhouse restaurant CUT at 45 Park Lane next summer.

Puck will open CUT at boutique hotel 45 Park Lane​ – the Dorchester Collection’s latest project – in summer 2011. There are currently two CUTs in America, in LA and Las Vegas, while a third site opened in Singapore last month.

In my early career I worked in France for seven years​ so I started off cooking French-driven food. But by the time I opened Spago I was cooking a lot of Italian food and now I cook a lot of Eastern food.

My new CUT restaurant is set to open in the spring​ and marks my first restaurant project in Europe, I can’t wait.

I believe London and New York are the two greatest cities in the Western world​, especially for restaurants. But I love LA because I’ve been here for a long time.

I thought CUT, as an upmarket steak concept, would be a good fit for London​ because it already goes down very well with Brits in the US. Elton John told me the other day that CUT is his favourite restaurant in America, and Michael Caine is a big fan too.

We’re going to source our meat from different places​. Definitely some American grain-fed, but also meat from Ireland, Scotland and Australia.

Most high-end hotels are moving away from running their own restaurants​, a well-known operator running a concession just works better for everybody.

We’ll also be responsible for room service and breakfast at 45 Park Lane​. It’s a small hotel so it’s manageable for the team. We’ll put our own mark on everything, I want to look at what people eat in London for breakfast and get the offer right. I want non-guests coming into the hotel in the morning. It should be an all-day destination.

Grant Achatz, the chef behind Alinea in Chicago, is doing amazing things.​ He’s already achieved a lot, but he’s still the one to watch. And on the more classical end of the scale, Josiah Citron at Melisse in Santa Monica is cooking some seriously good food at the moment.

The head chef at CUT will be David McIntyre, he’s been with me for 12 years.​ He did the opening of Spago in Las Vegas, and he now specialises in working on my restaurant openings.

It’s not just steak at CUT​, we have Chinese-style duck on the menu and Wagyu beef sashimi with white truffle. It’s a chef-driven steak house, not just big slabs of meat.

My second son, Byron, is 16 and is very keen to follow me into the restaurant business. ​He spent this last summer working at Spago in LA. He is smart and ambitious and I expect him to go far. He’s great with guests too, he seems to have an innate ability to find affinity with them and make them feel welcome.

We do premium steaks like fillet and sirloinbut we also use good value cuts.​ One of our most popular dishes is Indian-style short ribs, braised with spices and served with raita.

Spago has been open for 28 years.​ It now has influences from all over the world, there are so many different cultures in the US and I
wanted to represent them. We still use local ingredients though.

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