Wolfgang Puck: Cooking for a Cause

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As one of the most acclaimed celebrity chefs on the global stage, Wolfgang Puck created a cooking empire that has transformed the way people think about food.

Puck fell in love with culinary arts as a young child. His mother was an Austrian chef and began teaching him to cook early in his life. With her encouragement, he began formal training when he was only 14 years old. Early in his career, Puck worked in some of Europe’s most prominent restaurants. But at 24, he moved to the United States. His culinary brilliance and unique international perspective immediately established his prominence as an elite chef.

Along the way, Puck said he learned many valuable lessons. But the most important lesson for the chef was simple: persistence is a key to success.

Wolfgang Puck: Cooking For a Cause

Wolfgang Puck: Cooking For a Cause

As one of the most acclaimed celebrity chefs in the world, Wolfgang Puck created a cooking empire that has transformed the way people think about food.

“Persistence is so important. And I think ‘no’ is not an answer. I told everybody – my kids, the chefs – I said, ‘you know, if something goes wrong, you have to learn from it and move on. You never take it as a defeat,’” Puck said.

Today, the culinary expert leads an empire that encompasses three separate Wolfgang Puck entities: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. His work in each facet fuses the finest features of restaurant hospitality and culinary arts.

Puck has also earned some of the most prestigious awards in the culinary world, and he is the only chef in history to have won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year two times.

But Puck’s work transcends the kitchen – the chef is also actively involved in many philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations.

He said one of his most important philanthropic endeavors benefits brain health.

Puck supports the Cleveland Clinic at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, which works to raise money to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s really an amazing thing because when you have a disease like that, not only the person is affected, but their family and friends all around them are too,” Puck said.  “To see somebody go that way, it’s really difficult.”

He knows from firsthand experience – Puck lost his mother to Alzheimer’s in 2004.

The iconic chef sat down with Mike Walter to talk about his experiences as one of the most influential chefs in the rapidly changing culinary world and how witnessing his mother battle with Alzheimer’s influenced his philanthropic outlook.

Follow Wolfgang Puck on Twitter: @WolfgangBuzz