Who is Wolfgang Puck?

On my business travels in the States I’ve noticed one major, important thing. The hotels are the best you’ll find in the world. I’m not talking about 5 star or anything. I mean any average, run-of-the-mill business hotel. They’re great. Why?

  1. The rooms are always huge
  2. The alarm clocks are all the same no matter where you stay so its easy to use them
  3. The ironing boards are massive so its easy to get your shirt ready in the morning
  4. The barman comes and asks you if you want a refill only when your glass is empty
  5. The in-room coffee is percolated and made by some guy called Wolfgang Puck.

(It’s worth pointing out that I’ve only stayed in Hiltons – I’ve heard some bad things about Western Inn, probably untrue).

So who is this Puck guy? And what is his connection to the display of juicy loveliness in the picture below?

Well apparently he is very famous in the States but not so well known over here in good old Blighty. And at this year’s Oscars he prepared the after-show food. One of the dishes was mini-burgers (made with Kobe beef or something equally, insanely expensive) with some kind of fancy sauce (remoulade I think).

In a fit of ambition I thought I’d try out this recipe. But I didn’t have the fancy beef. And in England you can’t get bricohe rolls (you can get brioche fingers, brioche loaf, but not bap rolls) and I couldn’t really figure out the essential nature of remoulade so I made it up.

So I started by getting the sauce ready which (if I remember correctly) was cream, wine, butter, peppers (and some other things which I can’t remember). Anyway it looked like this:

Then I formed some small patties from some minced steak and cooked on the griddle:

Then I tried to make burger-sized baps from a bricoche loaf and toasted them for a minute or two:

Then I created the burger, starting with a bap bottom:

Then a burger with some melted cheese:

Then a dollop of the mystery sauce:

Then a bap crown. For the mystery-sauce-dislikers I substituted some gherkins. So there you have it – my attempt at Wolfgang Puck’s Oscar Burgers. He has nothing to worry about.

19 thoughts on “Who is Wolfgang Puck?

  1. I’ve eaten at a handful of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants and was largely unimpressed each time. We have substantially better places to eat in Southern California (including some of the food trucks mentioned above). When you get a chance, do try the outrageously expensive Kobe beef as it should be eaten – in small, seared cubes. Kobe beef is special because of the marbling, which is completely nullified once you grind it up for burgers.

  2. Whenever I think of Wolfgang Puck, I think of the 1980’s when raspberry vinaigrette was big and people were putting smoked salmon on pizza.

    I’m not sure if he is very relevant anymore. They seem to drag him out of the dusty corner (a bit like Billy Crystal) whenever they want to have a large Hollywood event catered and they don’t want to offend anyone.

    Your burgers look very tasty though! Just a thought: have you ever considered making your own brioche hamburger buns? Brioche is actually super easy to make. I just saw a recipe the other day where you mix it with your hands and thought it would be the perfect project for kids.

      • Had to look up Emril. We have loads of celebrity chefs but they all seem to cook the same thing or things that are so incomprehensibly difficult you would never try and replicate them

      • Emeril drives me nuts. He must be responsible for more than 60% of the recipes on the Food Network. Quantity over quality.

        That sounds like a big difference between US television “chefs” and British ones: ours seem to go for the lowest common denominator and make just disgusting food.

        Like Rachel Ray’s food always looks like vomit.

        And don’t even get me started on Sandra Lee!

        • My god that looks amazing. Sorry I mean it looks unbelievably awful! But brilliant at the same time. In a weird drugged-up, freaked out way. Our favourite take-the-piss chefs at the moment are Jamie Oliver (I eat everything I make) and Heston Blumenthal, who creates things like snail porridge. No he does. Google it.

  3. Puck’s one of those fancy pants chefs who has his name on everything. Merchandising! Anyway, remoulade is way too fussy for burgers; Russian or Thousand Island dressing is plenty fancy. Remoulade is made with mayonnaise, hard cooked egg, pickles, garlic, capers, and capers, I think. Takes the attention away from the meat. What you did is fine. There was likely better food served at one of the food trucks parked outside the Oscar party.

  4. LoL valiant effort! You’re right, Wolf is a big deal over here…

    He hails from Austria and has made himself quite the name with his fancy schmancy restaurants like Spago. I find his accent adorable. I also wouldn’t mind taking a cooking class or two from him.

    Was the mystery sauce tasty? I’m intrigued…

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