Gourmet traveler: Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck’s empire includes dozens of restaurants, a catering arm and even frozen food. The chef is now celebrating the opening of a third branch of his upscale steakhouse, CUT, at the new 45 Park Lane hotel in London.

When we asked famed chef Wolfgang Puck for his No. 1 gastronomic destination, he didn’t go very far from his base of California.

“I would go to the Chino Ranch, which supplies most of my vegetables. It’s only a two-hour drive from my place, but I have often rented a house there on the ocean just so I could eat their vegetables for two weeks — I became almost a vegetarian,” he says of the farm that supplies his restaurants with produce.

But when pressed, he admitted to other, favorite gastronomic destinations. “I like Hong Kong, I love Japan and the fish market in Tokyo, and I like to go over to France, Italy and Spain. Last year, we went to Barcelona and went to the Boqueria market for simple Spanish food and good ham.”

His gastronomic globetrotting is limited only by his long-suffering travel companion, his wife. “My wife says, ‘I have eight courses for lunch and eight courses for dinner, I don’t want to do it anymore, take somebody who likes to eat that much.’”

Puck’s top three gastronomic destinations:

1. The Fat Duck, Bray, England
: “I was particularly surprised by The Fat Duck because I didn’t expect that I would like it that much, but I liked it better than el Bulli. I had a baby lamb chop which was really delicious. The quality of the food was perfect.” www.thefatduck.co.uk

2. Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athenee, Paris, France:
  “I liked the last meal I had at Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee because it was very simple [and] of great quality. You’d have a braised veal shank with carrots and you’d get a braised veal shank with carrots. But it tastes as good as you think it would.” www.alainducasse.com

3. Moulin de Mougins, Mougins, France: “I remember the first time I went to the Moulin Mougins, when [chef] Roger Verge was there — it must be probably 30 years ago or so. I had lunch by myself and I thought it was fantastic.” www.moulindemougins.com



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