With more than 20 fine-dining restaurants, including the flagship Spago Beverly Hills, which just celebrated its 30-year anniversary; eight bars/lounges; numerous casual dining restaurants across the globe; and a line of cookware and food, chef Wolfgang Puck spends an inordinate amount of time on the road (by his count, 200 days last year). We got to spend a few minutes with the chef on one of his rare days back home in Los Angeles. Here’s what this Celebrated Traveler had to say.
• Since I started traveling a lot, I’ve become a much bigger reader. I always take books on flights.
• One of my favorite places to go is Maui, to the Four Seasons Hotel. They have a Spago there, which means I get to eat for free.
• When I am in London, I now only stay at 45 Park Lane. It’s a small boutique hotel, with just 48 rooms.
• Hotel Bel-Air [in Los Angeles] is one of the most amazing hotels within a city. The rooms are in bungalows spread out over the property. They just redid the whole hotel, and we took over food and beverage there, so now you can eat our food in bed.
• We just totally revamped Spago Beverly Hills. We changed the decor, we changed the food — we changed everything. The salmon pizza is not on the menu now, but if you ask, we’ll make it for you.
• I have a lot of friends in the food business so it’s pretty easy for me to ask someone where to eat in a town where I haven’t been; I talk to chefs from all over the world.
• In Turkey, there’s a great restaurant I like — Tugra at the Ciragan Palace-Kempinski. You have to sit outside on the terrace ... with views of the Bosphorus Bridge.
• I haven’t been to India yet — I’d like to go explore there, especially southern India.
• My advice for cooking is to get the best ingredients you can and try not to screw them up.