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.”
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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