I arrived back at the Aquarium the following morning and waited for the chef to watch the Dolphin Show. Photographer Addison Hill waited as well to do the official staff photos with the famous chef.
Puck is Austrian so I began the interview auf Deutsch, but quickly reverted to English. His mood was jovial as we chatted about his current projects.
Wolfgang Puck is the official caterer of the Georgia Aquarium and served as celebrity host of the 7th annual Aqua Vino event. When asked about his collaboration with the venue, he was quick to point out his admiration for Bernie Marcus and his vision to bring the aquarium to downtown Atlanta.
Puck joins Athens/Atlanta chef Hugh Acheson on this season’s Top Chef where he challenged the contestants to cook a perfect omelette…with a regular old-fashioned skillet. “It was amazing to see the good and the bad,” but to his dismay, “no one could make a proper omelette.”
When not judging on Top Chef, Puck has been working with a personal trainer to lose some weight, which prompted his new project. “I’m writing a book about eating healthier and exercising…to make people more aware of what we eat so we live a better quality life. I ski better (now) than twenty years ago. I think when you are 60 you can still do what you like.” He hopes to have the book out next year, perhaps in time for Christmas.
As a traveling celebrity chef, I asked which city in the U.S. is his favorite for dining out. Puck was graciously vague, saying “of course New York has the most great restaurants, like all big cities, LA, Atlanta. The American public has become more adventurous so you can find great food almost everywhere.”
If you are a foodie in Atlanta, you probably read about, or even attended, chef Zeb Stevenson’s Blood Dinner on November 15th. Many chefs these days are experimenting with unusual ingredients so I asked Puck his thoughts on this subject.
The idea of using blood in cooking was nothing new to Puck. “When I was a child, my Mother would kill the pig, then make blood sausage, (cooked) with sauteed onions, parsley, and rice. When I worked in Burgundy, I learned to make coq au vin, the sauce was thickened with blood.” Had he stayed in town, he said he would have attended Stevenson’s Blood Dinner.
I’m always curious to know what chefs eat, especially if it’s a guilty pleasure. Although he never eats fast food due to its poor quality, Puck admitted “I love anything sweet….chocolate, caramel, ice cream, and especially macaroons.”
And the occassional Kaiser Schmarrn, of course.