Wolfgang Puck, the legendary, award-winning chef and owner of Spago in LA (and so many other restaurants it would give us carpel tunnel syndrome to type them all out), serves up his thoughts on snacks, grub, and rock & roll.
What do chefs and rock stars have in common?
Almost nothing, until about ten years ago. Now, chefs are treated like rock stars although one thing we always had in common: we love the night.
First times: what’s the first record you bought? First meal you cooked?
I bought an Elvis record - in German. The first meal I ever cooked was my grandmother's birthday cake.
Let’s talk starters: what’s your ultimate side one, track one, and what’s your ultimate appetizer?
That's easy - "Speak to Me / Breathe" from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. My ultimate appetizer would have to be the best caviar you can buy with a fabulous bottle of Krug Champagne.
Let’s talk seduction: what’s your go-to soundtrack for getting it on, and what’s your go-to meal for getting a lady in the mood?
French and Italian are very sexy languages to me, so great songs by Charles Aznavour or Andrea Bocelli are the perfect soundtracks for seduction. My go-to meal would have to be any small appetizers paired with a great cocktail.
On the road: what’s the ultimate road food and what are the best driving songs?
I try to only eat in the best restaurants, and never on airplanes. As far as driving songs, anything from Carmen to Lady Gaga works for me.
Food and music pairings – can you pair a dish with:
Led Zeppelin - Great rock and roll music goes with great steaks and red wine.
David Bowie - Chinese food because "China Girl" is one of my favorite songs.
The Rolling Stones - Reminds me of my youth, so laced chocolate chip cookies.
Jay-Z - For Jay-Z and Beyonce, I'd make a tasting menu at Spago.
Pink Floyd - Bruce Willis told me a bone-in filet at Cut while listening to Pink Floyd is the best.
If you could invite all your favorite artists for a dinner party, who would you invite?
That's really difficult because I'd first have to find out if they like good food and wine. People like Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z who love good food are naturals. I remember making pasta for Frank Sinatra one time - in the traditional way. One important thing is that I'd have a piano and guitar close by in case anyone wanted to break something out.
What makes certain music suited for cooking?
When I cook, there's no music in the kitchen. Music is better in the dining room because in the kitchen, we have to focus 100 percent on what we're doing. Even background music is too much.
What about for eating?
On any given night you can hear anything from Pink Floyd, especially The Wall, to Jay-Z in my restaurants.
Who is the one artist out there now that you want to see live?
I saw Roger Waters last year - I'd want to see him again.
And what’s the one restaurant you haven’t eaten at yet that you’re most looking forward to?
Chez L'Ami Jean in Paris. It's a traditional French bistro where I hear the food tastes like your grandmother would make - if she had been a great chef.
What is your rock & roll fantasy?
To perform in a band in front of a large audience.
And your food fantasy?
I have no more. I've pretty much done almost everything I've fantasized about - both in and out of the kitchen!