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March 22, 2013

Wolfgang Puck on Cooking for the Oscars and the Perfect Breakfast

By Spear's

Emily Rookwood cooks breakfast with Wolfgang Puck, and finds out what finally mellowed the jet-set Austrian chef

As promised last week, here’s the second part of ‘Breakfast with Wolfgang Puck.’ In London for only a few days before flying to Dubai to look over a potential new venture, Puck was running a little late. This was no disaster, though, as he came out to say hello and presented me with a trio of puddings with the heavenly instruction to ‘eat these and when you’re finished I’ll be ready.’

Plate clean, Puck came to fetch me. We walked through the neat dining room of 45 Park Lane with its Damien Hirsts, tables set for evening service and quietly busy waiting staff, and down in to the small kitchen to begin our afternoon breakfast. Cheerful, personable and clearly very at home in the kitchen, Puck talked me through brunch, via the Oscars, Austria and his iPhone’s photostream.

I ask Puck whether he has converted to the American breakfast since moving from Europe, but surprisingly for a chef, and one who is about to cook me breakfast, he says, ‘When I get up I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to smell food. Nothing. I just want coffee, I eat nothing.’
HAVING SPENT SEVEN years of my life getting up in the middle of the night to get the clunky, 90 minute bus to school, I have become accustomed to eating anything at any time of day, credit for which goes to my very kind father who would get up with the birds to cook my breakfast. Clearly, not everyone has my constitution in the morning.

Anyway, for those of you who can stomach something a little more for breakfast, or at least at the weekend for brunch, you can find Wolfgang Puck’s recipe for potato galette with dill crème and smoked salmon here. There’s also a video where he demonstrates how to make the perfect omelette here:

Video: Wolfgang Puck shows Spear’s how to make the perfect omelette at CUT, 45 Park Lane

With a spatula in one hand, and iPhone in the other, I watched both the potatoes sautéing and a series of images showing the food Puck made for the Oscars.

‘I think the Oscars dinner was really good this year because it was a party not a formal sit down dinner. We made 15,000 small plates. We had potatoes with caviar, we had tortellini with truffles, lamb chops with vinaigrette, chicken pot pies, macaroni with cheese, steak, appetizers and starters, along with our pizzas and we made chocolate Oscars!’
THERE FOLLOWS A a nonchalant toss of the pan, where he shows me how to should flip a galette, before telling me that despite sounding like a hideous feat to pull off, having catered for the Oscars for 19 years he knows ‘we can do it.’

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Not much seems to faze this charming Austrian: constantly on the move, he spends around 160 days every year on the road, travelling from LA to Singapore, London to Dallas, Atlantic City, Detroit and many other far-flung cities.

Although he’s jetting off again later today, he says philosophically, ‘We only can complain when we’re not busy.’ He has quite the empire to juggle what with his restaurants, catering business and media presence though it seems that age, experience and having children — his youngest has just learnt to make soup — has mellowed him: ‘When I was young and a chef in a restaurant if people wanted their steak well done I said, “No, have the chicken.” Now, so long as they are happy, I’m fine.’

Video: Wolfgang Puck shows Spear’s how to make the perfect omelette at CUT, 45 Park Lane
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