NEW YORK Wolfgang Pucks celebrity is fed by his famous restaurants, including the original Spago in Hollywood, his pizzas, pastas and soups on sale in supermarkets, and his regular appearances on ABCs "Good Morning America."
With all that, its a wonder its taken him so long to jump on the cooking show bandwagon that has made stars out of Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.
7 p.m., Friday
"Up until now Ive always been busy," Puck explained over tea at a Manhattan hotel.
Like hes not busy now.
This interview was squeezed between a morning television appearance in New York, for which Puck had a 5 a.m. wake-up call, and a flight back to Los Angeles and his "day job" at Spago. In the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards, Puck will have meetings and tastings in preparation for the Governors Ball, the official Oscar after-party. (Last year, DreamWorks SKGs Oscar party at Spago was the hottest invite in town.)
"Wolfgang Puck," which begins airing Jan. 12 on the Food Network, will follow the chef around his restaurants, to catering jobs, on shopping trips, and then close with the preparation of a dish for a studio audience.
|Los Angeles celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is joining the Food Network league of cooking shows.
But while Pucks new show will take viewers into A-list celebrity events like the Oscar parties, he wont have stars join him at the stove in his studio at least not yet.
"The public should get used to me first and my accent," said Puck, who still sounds Austrian despite having lived in California for nearly three decades. (Puck moved to the United States in 1973, landing in Los Angeles after a stint in Indianapolis.)
The chef, however, wouldnt rule out future appearances with friends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who shares Pucks love of wienerschnitzel and an Austrian accent, and Joel Grey and Suzanne Somers, who are quite competent in the kitchen.
"Wolfgang loves to talk to people," said Robb Weller, the former "Entertainment Tonight" correspondent who now produces service and information programs, including Pucks. "Hes all about relationships."
Puck said the first few episodes of his show will let viewers see firsthand that he makes mistakes. "The first shows were difficult . . . But were getting better, and it makes me excited were getting better. The first time you do anything shouldnt be the best."
Despite his famous hobnobbing with the stars, Puck creates a homey environment for the studio audience and viewers at home, said Eileen Opatut, the Food Networks senior vice president of programming.
With his empire expanding to 10 restaurants and 16 cafes throughout the country, plus a planned location in Japan, the 51-year-old Puck still lives in Los Angeles with his wife and business partner, Barbara Lazaroff, and their two children, Cameron, 11, and Byron, 6.
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