Recently, Adam Nagourney of The New York Times explored the newly renovated Spago Beverly Hills and Wolfgang Puck‘s career. Spago was redesigned by Waldo Fernandez at a cost of $4 million with Art reportedly picked by his second wife, Gelila Assefa.
Interestingly, the article says that Puck could rest on his laurels, rather than open more restaurants. Nagourney writes that the expansion is all part of “Chef Puck staying busy.”
“Why stop?” he said, standing in the Spago dining room the other morning, the smell of paint fresh in the air, as workers rolled in tables and hammered down final touches. “What would you do at home?”
That is part of the answer to why Wolfgang stays busy – who wouldn’t like an all new kitchen, a new challenge in mid-life, and more great reviews? Many chefs don’t retire. But is there more behind Wolfgang Puck continued expansion at age 63?
It isn’t enough to just ask the chef – ask his investors, his financiers, and his partners, his sous chefs and executive chefs.
Adam does not explore any of the financial demands on the empire that force Wolfgang, and other celebrity chefs, to continue to open new restaurants and find new outlets for their creative powers. He doesn’t explore the issue of keeping talent in the kitchen. Granted, the emphasis is on the new restaurant and Wolfgang’s staying power, but the article raises some interesting questions that a quick read of Super Chef (Simon & Schuster 2004) might have helped answer.