Chef to the stars: Wolfgang Puck
The celebrity chef chats to EDGAR about his first Dubai restaurant CUT and listening to Pink Floyd with Bruce Willis.Neil Churchill August 12, 2014
Above the rest
My new restaurant at the Address Downtown is the fifth branch of CUT to be opened. Each of the previous ones – whether in London, Singapore or Las Vegas – have been huge successes. I credit that to being one of the only steakhouses that have real talent in the kitchen. We make everything in-house and cook on a charcoal grill with fire and oak so it gives a special flavour. It’s different and you can taste the quality of it.
In Dubai it’s difficult to choose local products because of the climate so we have to import. But we will continue to explore the options of working with the local people, providing they have the right quality because just being local is not enough if the quality is not good.
I’m a firm believer that variety is the spice of life and so in my kitchens it’s the same thing. I will eat a good pizza just as often as I eat white truffles or steak. But it all comes down to good quality ingredients – that for me is the most important thing. I’d much rather have a simple salad than bad caviar.
Dream dinner party
Aside from food, a good dinner party needs to have good conversation. My ideal guests would be an eccentric group of people including Picasso, Shakespeare and Winston Churchill.
Cooking for Wolfgang
Years ago, the Austrian filmmaker Billy Wilder [of Some Like It Hot and Sunset Boulevard] invited me round for dinner and his wife was cooking. She was asked “aren’t you nervous cooking for Wolfgang?” She said “I don’t give a s***, if he doesn’t like it he can flush it down the toilet!” She was a tough one.
When we opened the first CUT in Beverley Hills eight years ago it was the first time I actually chose the music we played. Bruce Willis was eating a bone-in fillet and he called me over and said: “You know eating this steak and listening to Pink Floyd is the best experience.” We want the restaurant to look good, to play the right music, to smell good and the food to have the perfect taste. Everything together makes the picture.
I used to refuse to cook a steak well-done when I was young – I was so difficult. When people wanted sauce on the side I said no. If they wanted steak well-done I would tell them to go and eat chicken instead. Now I think the important thing is for the customer to be happy. I’ve learnt that I cannot give people my taste.
Details: visit theaddress.com/dining