Restaurateur and interior designer Barbara Lazaroff, A.S.I.D., is renowned for her innovative restaurant concepts. As President of Imaginings Interior Design, Inc., Lazaroff created the original concept and original design of Spago.
Lazaroff collaborated with her partner, chef Wolfgang Puck, to create and design a number of their restaurants, including the original Spago in West Hollywood (1982), which was the 1994 recipient of the James Beard Foundation's award for Restaurant of the Year. In that creation, Lazaroff launched a new concept in kitchen design by creating an exhibition kitchen, which has become very popular in restaurants today.
With Puck, Lazaroff owns Spago (Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Maui), Chinois on Main, and Trattoria del Lupo, Postrio Bar & Grill and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Las Vegas.
In 1997, Lazaroff completed design of Spago when it moved to its new location in Beverly Hills. Voted the Top Restaurant by Food & Wine Magazine in 2000, the design featured exquisite hand-blown glass Italian chandeliers, a lush romantic garden with specimen olive trees, exotic flora, fountains, and glass doors on three sides opening to an interior filled with an impressive collection of art from Lazaroff's contemporary collection. The entire restaurant's vision has been drawn from a poem, penned by Lazaroff, entitled "The Flame of Life" which connotes the importance of striving for excellence and living a life filled with purpose and passion.
Additionally, Lazaroff designed Chinois on Main in Santa Monica and the formerly owned Puck restaurants Granita, Chinois Las Vegas, Spago Tokyo, and the Playboy Club Japan in Tokyo.
As co-founder of the Wolfgang Puck Food Company, Lazaroff developed the design of the former Wolfgang Puck Cafés, which were featured on college campuses and other venues in the United States, Canada and Japan. The signature Café design had showcased the company's logo with Lazaroff's custom "pizza chairs," triangular-shaped fused glass sconces and elaborate, vividly colorful geometric mosaic on floor and wall surfaces.
Lazaroff's innovative concepts and designs have received critical acclaim and she is known for conception and execution of singularly unique restaurants. Her projects have been featured in many design publications and books, and specific restaurant designs have been lauded in consumer publications, newspapers and broadcast media.
Lazaroff received the 1995 DuPont Antron Design Award for Hospitality for her exclusive carpet designs for the Wolfgang Puck Cafés. Lazaroff and Puck jointly received the Hot Concept award from Nation's Restaurant News for the Wolfgang Puck Cafés. She is the 1994 recipient of the Assopiastrelle Design Award from the Association of Ceramic Tile and Refractory Manufacturers.
Lazaroff is a member of the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality, a founding board member of the International Association of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, a member of the California Women in Environmental Design and of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee. Lazaroff has participated as a key lecturer in both the 1995 and 1996 "Call to Action" business conferences for women hosted by California Governor Pete Wilson. Lazaroff and Puck were jointly awarded the November/December 1995 Silver Spoon from Food Arts magazine.
Lazaroff also sits on the Board of Directors for the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. Among many charitable organizations, Lazaroff and Puck are major supporters of Meals-on-Wheels, founding and hosting 20 years of the American Wine & Food Festival in Los Angeles, which raised millions of dollars to provide meals for the homebound disabled and elderly. Each year, Spago hosts a Passover Seder to benefit Mazon for hunger relief.
Lazaroff actively supports several AIDS organizations, including DIFFA, where she has participated on the 1994 Advisory Board, and AIDS Project Los Angeles, where she served as 1988 Chairperson of Dining for Dollars and a chairperson for the APLA/Elizabeth Taylor Foundation's 1993 Passport event. In 1997 at the Divine Design Awards benefiting Project Angel Food and AIDS Project Los Angeles, Lazaroff, along with Puck, were awarded the California Style and Spirit award for their ongoing efforts towards cure, education and prevention, as well as for the impact they have had in "raising the bar" with regard to professionalism and quality in their industries.
The American Cancer Society bestowed multiple notations to Lazaroff and Puck for over a decade of dedicated service and for founding and organizing the annual California Spirit Gala. Lazaroff and Puck received the Humanitarian of the Year award in 1994 from the James Beard Foundation. In 1997, The Fulfillment Fund, an organization that provides mentoring, scholarship and education to inner-city children from grade four through college, presented Lazaroff and Puck with their highest honor.
A native of New York City, Lazaroff's early studies focused on theater arts, including set design and lighting. She went on to study biochemistry and experimental psychology, working in various positions in the biomedical field, before returning to her career in interior design over 18 years ago. Lazaroff's experience in stage design was showcased in the kitchen sets for the instructional video "Cooking with Wolfgang Puck," featured in Designer's West, for which she also wrote the script.
In addition to her many humanitarian awards, Barbara was proud to receive an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree from the Interior Design Institute of Newport Beach, CA as well as an honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality degree from Johnson & Wales University, Providence RI in 1998.
Lazaroff is the co-author of "Wishes for a Mother's Heart: Words of Inspiration, Love and Support," a heartwarming book which is a tribute to women of all ages celebrating the connections women share and the bonds of sisterhood that permeates their lives.
Lazaroff resides in Beverly Hills and has two sons, Cameron and Byron.