Chef Wolfgang Puck talks D.C. dining, his biggest food pet peeve, and the most memorable meal he hasn’t had yet.
For three decades, one of the chefs defining American tastes has been an Austrian: Wolfgang Puck. After hopping the pond in 1973 to work at Indianapolis French restaurant La Tour at the age of 24, he moved to Los Angeles in 1975. It was here, first at celebrity hotspot Ma Maison and then, in 1982, at his own restaurant Spago, that he started introducing Hollywood types to cooking that would set menu trends for years to come. French food didn’t need to be trapped in time. California Cuisine was a thing. Asian Fusion worked. Success begat success, and Puck is now behind nearly fifty restaurants, serving his Michelin-worthy contemporary American cooking from Shanghai to Istanbul. And in 2019, he’s bringing CUT, his wildly successful take on the steakhouse, to America’s capital at Rosewood Washington, D.C.. “These days, Washington has an amazing array of restaurants from all kinds of ethnic cuisines,” he says of joining its culinary scene, which earned it the title of America’s Best Food City from Bon Appetit in 2016.
To get the new restaurant patron-ready, Puck has traveled back and forth to Washington, getting to know the city when he’s not in the kitchens. “I love to drive around late at night and visit all the monuments,” he says. And for food? Saturday dim sum brunch at The Source, his perennially popular fusion spot across town at the Newseum.
Here, the chef answers our Rosewood Questionnaire:
What’s one food fad right now you despise, and why?
When food looks better than it tastes.
What’s one food fad right now you love, and why?
We finally, in America, look at what’s best here: produce, meat, fish.
What’s the one place in the world on the top of your wish list?
What’s a place that you’re ashamed to admit you haven’t been?
What’s a place that’s overrated?
What’s a place that’s touristy but worth it?
Do you have a favorite museum?
Describe the most memorable meal you’ve ever had.
I’m still young and I haven’t had it yet.
What do you like most about traveling?
I’m always curious about seeing new things and learning about new cultures and places.
What do you like least about traveling?
Airports and airlines
Rediscover A Sense of Washington, D.C. at CUT
Wolfgang Puck’s CUT, located along the C&O Canal at Rosewood Washington, D.C., is opening at the end of July. True to Wolfgang’s hallmark ethos of using fresh ingredients, Executive Chef Andrew Skala has solidified relationships with farmers, ranchers, dairy farmers and fishermen from the surrounding region to source seasonal produce, seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, and wagyu beef from Virginia. And throughout the hotel’s renovated dining and bar spaces, travelers are invited to savor in classic Washington, D.C. style.
Aisle or window? I don’t care as long as it’s in first class.
Early bird or night owl? Before it was definitely night, now it’s early.
Beach or mountain? I grew up in the mountains, and now I love the beach.
City or countryside? City
Sweet or savory? Sweet
Plane, train or automobile? Plane
Paris or London? London