There’s a 30-year symbiotic relationship between Wolfgang Puck and LA restaurants. The chef/restauranteur holds high regard for the progression of local food. Puck made it clear in a Food and Wine interview how Los Angeles propelled the leading restaurant trends over the last 40 years, with culinary influence far beyond New York or San Francisco.
The Austrian-born Puck opened Spago on the Sunset Strip in 1982, then moved the iconic restaurant to Beverly Hills in 1997. Then there’s Chinois on Main, online cooking classes, fast-casual Puck at airports, his international outposts, along with many more food-related businesses to mention.
The point: Puck has vastly influenced how see food in America. And it could have only begun here in LA. "There's only one place, and that's Los Angeles. You know why? We have the best farmers. We have the most diverse restaurants,” says Puck. “We have great Chinese food. We have Little Tokyo. We have Koreatown. We have all these different cities within the city, with their own culture."
Puck also cites a number of firsts on his watch. Spago was the first with an open kitchen, and believes that fusion cuisine began at Chinois On Main and Spago. The influential chef also suggested that, and have progressed with the city’s ever-changing cuisine. When serving rare tuna to customers in the 1990s, many just sent the dish back to the kitchen. “A tuna ‘well done’ is like canned tuna, basically. So I would say, ‘Trust me,’ and they would say, ‘Get that out of here! Take it away.’”