Beverly Hills, CA – World-renown chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck was honored as Chef of the Year by the esteemed Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at their annual Leadership Awards Gala, the Augies, on March 27. The event was held at Pier Sixty in New York City.
“I began my culinary training at 14 years old and since then I’ve been passionate about offering our guests the best tasting food and genuine hospitality year after year; so to be honored by such a highly respected organization such as The Culinary Institute of America is a great career milestone,” said Chef Puck.
The CIA recognized Chef Puck for his influence and impact on the culinary and hospitality industry, his inspiration to generations of chefs, his leadership in revolutionizing California cuisine and his role bringing cooking into homes across the nation with his cookware and packaged goods.
"We are honored to recognize Wolfgang Puck as The Culinary Institute of America's 'Chef of the Year' for 2008 by presenting him with the Augie Leadership Award," says Dr. Tim Ryan, President of The Culinary Institute of America. "Chef Puck is a leader we all admire for his many great contributions to the hospitality industry. His accomplishments range from the superior dining experience that he offers hisguests, spanning white-tablecloth to fast-casual restaurants, to the millions of future chefs that he has inspired with countless media appearances over his remarkable career."
The CIA’s mission is to provide the world’s best professional culinary education. The Culinary Institute uses the proceeds from the Leadership Awards Gala for scholarships to assist needy students, sustaining a longstanding tradition of excellence for future generations of culinarians. Austrian-born Puck has changed the way Americans cook and eat by mixing formal French techniques and Asian- and California-influenced aesthetics with the highest quality, freshest ingredients.
He changed the face of dining throughout the nation, first in Los Angeles, and then Las Vegas, where he was the first celebrity chef to create a contemporary fine dining restaurant, leading the way for other celebrated chefs and the city’s metamorphosis into a dining destination. His trademark dishes, coupled with his unmistakable panache and passion have revolutionized the culinary industry. Wolfgang’s first signature dish, gourmet pizza topped with smoked salmon and caviar, put him and Spago on the Los Angeles foodie map.
Chef Puck oversees an empire of fine dining and fast-casual restaurants, catering services and licensed products. His famed Spago restaurant debuted in the 1982 in Los Angeles and 25 years later, there are 15 fine dining locations throughout the nation. Through his Wolfgang Puck Catering company, he provides exclusive premium dining and catering services to renowned venues across the nation including Newseum, Washington, DC, Walker Art Center Minneapolis, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Hollywood and Highland’s Grand Ballroom and Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles and Georgia Aquarium, among others. Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. encompasses Wolfgang Puck Bistro and Express casual restaurants; Wolfgang Puck-branded packaged foods, beverages and cookware; book publishing; television, radio and internet programming; and other franchising, licensing, and merchandising.
Wolfgang has authored six popular cookbooks and his weekly syndicated newspaper column “Wolfgang Puck’s Kitchen” appears in the United States and Canada. He has been honored with the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Outstanding Service (Spago Beverly Hills) and his Food Network show “Wolfgang Puck” won two Emmy awards.
About The Wolfgang Puck Companies br> The Wolfgang Puck Companies – comprised of 15 fine dining restaurants, more than 80 Express fast-casual restaurants, a growing number of Bistro casual restaurants, premium catering services in more than 30 exclusive venues and quality kitchen and food merchandise – celebrate a central philosophy – Wolfgang’s Eat, Love, Live™ (WELL). The brand offers the freshest all-natural and organic ingredients; celebrates local farmers and humanely treated animals; offers the most creative seasonal menus and delicious innovative tastes; provides the finest in hospitality; supplies quality products for the well-equipped kitchen at any given price point; and provides leadership and “how to” information on fresh, all-natural, organic eating and dining well. For more information visit www.wolfgangpuck.com.
About The Culinary Institute of America br> Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not for profit college offering bachelor's and associate degrees, as well as certificate programs, in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. As the world’s premier culinary college, the CIA has a network of more than 37,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Cat Cora, Harold Dieterle, Steve Ells, Todd English, Duff Goldman, Sara Moulton, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The college has campuses in New York (Hyde Park), California (The CIA at Greystone, St. Helena), and Texas (San Antonio), as well as an additional location in New York City (Astor Center, Manhattan). In addition to its degree programs, the CIA also offers courses for professionals and food enthusiasts, as well as wine education. For more information, and a complete listing of program offerings at each site, visit the CIA online at www.ciachef.edu.