Monday, January 30, 2012

Puck honored

Wolfgang Puck was named today as recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. Puck has won a number of awards from the Foundation, a national group that seeks to promote the culinary arts and whose awards are what some dub the Oscars of the food world, yearly honoring chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook writers, wine professionals and more.

Puck, slated to open a restaurant at Phillips Place this year, will get the award in May at Lincoln Center in New York. He cooked the first guest-chef dinner at the James Beard House, in 1987, and is the only person to win Outstanding Chef twice, said Beard president Susan Ungaro: "Wolfgang has not only demonstrated to the industry his incredible talent but he has helped shape the industry by revolutionizing how American chefs think about food. What sets Wolfgang apart, however, is that his creativity takes him beyond our industry’s walls. As a former Humanitarian Award recipient, he has shown that the culinary industry can improve the lives of others and benefit society as a whole."

He is a native of Austria and got famous with Spago in Hollywood, which opened in 1982. He's got 20 fine dining restaurants currently, plus "multiple" casual places; 5 million of his fresh and frozen pizzas sell each year, and Campbell's sells 26 varieties of Wolfgang Puck soup. There's cookware, too ... (Photo from Access Hollywood.)