02.13.14 // Wolfgang Puck
In 1973, the 24 year old Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck packed his bags for America. With a variety of experience as a classically trained French chef in the master kitchens of several French restaurants, he was excited about new opportunities.
After a few initial ventures, Wolfgang Puck opened Spago in 1982. The restaurant was an instant success! His first signature dishes – such as “gourmet” pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar and pizza with duck sausage – put him and Spago on the foodie map in Los Angeles. Such ‘Gourmet’ or West Coast style pizzas had already started to emerge but Wolfgang Puck accelerated the style to popularity.
Since the opening of Spago, Wolfgang Puck has won numerous James Beard awards. From his first 1991 Outstanding Chef award to his 2006 nomination for outstanding Restaurateur.
Over the last twenty years, an empire of Wolfgang Puck establishments emerged. By 2006, Wolfgang-inspired locations included 12 fine dining restaurants and over 50 casual dining and quick service restaurants in everything from airports and supermarkets to shopping malls and free standing properties. His influence has even spread overseas with several restaurants in Japan.
Wood Stone first crossed paths with Wolfgang Puck in 1993 when Keith W. Carpenter arranged a meeting with Kitchen Design Consultant Hank Sachs and Wolfgang at Kaiser Grille in Palm Desert, CA. Wolfgang was in the area to cater an event, and around midnight walked into Kaiser’s place to do some test cooking in the wood fired Wood Stone oven. After the test, Wolfgang told Keith that he had never seen an oven that cooked pizza crusts as evenly as the oven at Kaiser’s.
At the time, Wolfgang was using a variety of stone hearth ovens in his establishments. The ovens came from a number of manufacturers, both domestic and imported. After his test at Kaiser Grille, Wood Stone ovens became the oven of choice for Wolfgang’s restaurants (over 70 ovens to date) because of how they cooked, looked, lasted, and also because of their efficiency.
Today, Wolfgang continues to purchase and install only Wood Stone ovens with his current ovens of choice being our RFG-IR gas fired Mountain Series ovens.
‘If I could only have one piece of cooking equipment in my kitchen, it would be my Wood Stone oven.’ ‘I’ve used a lot of ovens, and Wood Stone is by far the best in its class.’ – Wolfgang Puck