The name Wolfgang Puck is synonymous with the best of restaurant hospitality and the ultimate in all aspects of the culinary arts. The famous chef has built an empire that encompasses three separate Wolfgang Puck entities: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.
Puck began cooking at his mother’s side as a child. She was a chef in the Austrian town where he was born, and with her encouragement, Wolfgang began his formal training at fourteen years of age. As a young chef he worked in some of France’s greatest restaurants, including Maxim’s in Paris, the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, and the Michelin 3-starred L’Oustau de Baumanière in Provence. At the age of 24, Wolfgang took the advice of a friend and left Europe for the United States. His first job was at the restaurant La Tour in Indianapolis, where he worked from 1973 to 1975.
Wolfgang came to Los Angeles in 1975 and very quickly garnered the attention of the Hollywood elite as chef and eventually part owner of Ma Maison in West Hollywood. His dynamic personality and culinary brilliance that bridged tradition and invention made Ma Maison a magnet for the rich and famous, with Wolfgang as the star attraction. He had an innate understanding of the potential for California cuisine, and was pivotal in its rise to national attention during the late 1970s.
Tom Colicchio spent his childhood immersed in food, cooking with his mother and grandmother. It was his father, however, who suggested that he make a career of it. Tom taught himself to cook with the help of Jacques Pépin’s legendary illustrated manuals on French cooking, La Technique and La Méthode. At age 17, Tom made his kitchen debut in his native town of Elizabeth, New Jersey at Evelyn’s Seafood Restaurant.
Tom later cooked at prominent New York restaurants including The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian. During his tenure as executive chef of Mondrian, Food & Wine magazine selected him as one of the top 10 “Best New Chefs” in the U.S. and The New York Times awarded the restaurant three stars.
In July 1994, Tom and his business partner Danny Meyer opened Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. In 1996, Ruth Reichl of The New York Times awarded Gramercy Tavern three stars, noting that Tom was “cooking with extraordinary confidence, creating dishes characterized by bold flavors and unusual harmonies.” Tom’s cooking at Gramercy Tavern earned consistent recognition – after three nominations for The James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef-New York” Award, he won it in 2000.
In 2001, Tom opened Craft one block south of Gramercy Tavern. Soon after, William Grimes of The New York Times awarded Craft with three stars, deeming the restaurant “a vision of food heaven.” Craft was awarded The James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2002. That same year, Tom received The Bon Appétit American Food and Entertaining Award for “Chef of the Year.”
Michael Mina’s story is one of two decades of influence, passion and achievement. With the October 2010 opening of MICHAEL MINA, his eponymous signature restaurant at 252 California Street in San Francisco, Michael is at the helm and once again in the kitchen at the same location (formerly AQUA) and city where he first established his culinary reputation 20 years ago. The San Francisco Chronicle three and a half star winner MICHAEL MINA in San Francisco is Michael’s crown jewel and marks the newest phase and ultimate expression in the career of the James Beard Award-winning chef. During its first year, MICHAEL MINA was awarded one Michelin star and “Restaurant of the Year” in Esquire’s annual 2011 “Best Restaurants” issue.
With accolades including James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage” inductee, Gayot Restaurateur of the Year 2011, Food Arts Silver Spoon Award winner May 2011, Bon Appétit Chef of the Year 2005, San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year 2005, as well as the International Food and Beverage Forum’s Restaurateur of the Year 2005, Michael continues to dazzle the culinary world with bold dining concepts that have contributed to San Francisco’s reputation as a world-class epicurean destination and made him an integral part of the dining scene across the country.