Monday, July 20, 2009

MONDAY MARINADE #2 ~ Wolfgang Puck

Chef du jour: Wolfgang Puck. Born in Austria, trained in France, achieved fame and fortune in the USA.

I first came across this name at O'Hare airport in Chicago, while en route for my last trip back to Blighty in 2005. I ate at a restaurant bearing his name - had the best Caesar Salad ever. I wasn't aware then of his reputation. As I ate my salad I just pondered on his rather strange surname, one I'd only encountered before in Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Wolfgang Puck is both chef and entrepreneur these days. He now owns some of the most splendid restaurants in the USA.

Puck maintains a cutting-edge role as a creative culinary force with signature dishes like gourmet pizza topped with smoked salmon and caviar. He has also launched companies, including Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. and Wolfgang Puck Catering.
The Wolfgang Puck Companies encompass 15 fine dining restaurants, premium catering services, more than 80 Wolfgang Puck Express operations, and kitchen and food merchandise, including cookbooks and canned foods. He is the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball, and has parlayed his celebrity into acting; his credits include Frasier, a recurring role as himself on Las Vegas and a cameo appearance on The Weather Man. He also appeared as himself on Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters, as well as Cooking Class with Wolfgang Puck on The Food Network, and in an American Idol season finale episode where he introduced unusual foods to Kellie Pickler in comic relief segments. He also made a cameo appearance as himself on an episode of Tales from the Crypt, and appeared in a TV commercial advertising California (along with famous people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson).

Puck is active in philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations, co-founding the Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation in 1982. The foundation supports the annual American Wine & Food Festival which benefits Meals on Wheels and has raised more than $15 million since its inception.
(Information from Wikipedia)

Born on 8 July 1949 in Sankt Veit an der Glan, Austria. Birth time isn't known. Chart below is set for noon. Ascendant and Moon degree will not be as shown, other placements are correct.

So here's a chef with Sun in Cancer, the nurturing sign. This is one of the two signs I most expected to find prominent in a chef's chart. I was wrong lat week in Escoffier's case though.

Wikipedia tells us that Puck learned cooking from his mother, who sometimes worked as a pastry chef. As Cancer also relates to the mother, there's a nice correlation here.

Puck, like Escoffier, is said to delight in innovation. Innovation has to be a large part of a chef's agenda, in order to hold the interest of his customers. Uranus conjunct Mercury reflects this flair for innovation. Uranus represents invention and novelty, Mercury, strong and unadulterated in its own sign of Gemini relates to Puck's obvious talent for communication. He has written books, as well as appearing on or acting in several TV shows. His two Leo planets fold in to this facet of his personality.

Puck's artistry and creativity (and his draw towards acting) relate back to Venus (planet of the arts) in outgoing Leo sextile Neptune (creativity) in Libra (ruled by Venus).

Saturn lay in Virgo as Puck came into the world. And the world welcomed another perfectionist. Cooking led on to a chain of business interests, gradually beoming a veritable catering empire. Jupiter in Capricorn speaks of luck in business, and expansive outlook, which Puck obviously has, in spades. Moon in Sagittarius no doubt has a hand in all this expansion too.

There's no emphasis on Aquarius in this chart, as there was in Escoffier's, but Uranus is important here, conjoined as it is to Mercury. Saturn and Capricorn play an important part, as do Sagittarius and Jupiter, again. We'll see if these continue to be highlighted in more charts during coming weeks.

It seems that (some) talented chefs are not be content to simply cook and run a kitchen, they must feel driven to expand and expand. I'd love to do a post on a chef who is just a chef, but a stellar one. These types though will not hit the internet with birth data and detail, so unless I can dig out information on a straightforward working chef, this series will have to focus on "celebrity" chefs - which is a bit of a shame.


R Southern said...

It's disturbing to me when someone I've never heard of appears out of the smoke, yet is supposedly already famous 20 different ways. Fortunately for my own mental health in this case, none of them seem to have any relation to me, so it's OK that I don't know!!! (Besides, I was already seriously disturbed.)

Twilight said...

R Southern~~~ I wonder of he's best known in west coast states, perhaps, Ron? I wouldn't have been aware of the name if I'd not seen it at the airport one time.

In Oklahoma we're not really into haute cuisine (and not particularly disturbed about it) so I'm not surprised we don't have his restaurants in the big cities here.

I haven't see the canned food or kitchen equipment either, come to think of it. Obviously not stocked by Wally-world ;-)

This post was purely academic then really, unless Wolfie is a product of some crazed journalist's imagination. :-)

R Southern said...

I'm laughing...

Shawn Carson said...

If i were German, i would definitely want my name to be Wolfgang!
Not a lot of tight aspects in his chart, outside of that Chiron / Saturn square OUCH!
Sun /Neptune square...maybe dad was not really around much
Mother was a go getter!

Wisewebwoman said...

Funny this T:
Out here on the Atlantic at the edge of the world many of his products line the shelves of yer bigger grocery stores. I wondered who the h*** he was and did not bite (sorry about the pun) as the prices were rather steep.
Thanks for the info....
Oh lord! Word ver is "Byter". LOL

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ According to Wiki his natural father abandoned Puck's mother before he was born, and he was adopted by the man his mother later married. So yes that fits your comment about the father. :-)

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Oh! Well that's interesting. Maybe his stuff doesn't go down well here in middle-America - or maybe I just don't frequent the right stores.

JMWein01 said...

I found this awesome q & A on Wolfgang Puck-check it out to learn more about the renowned chef!

Twilight said...

JMWein01 ~~ hi there.
thank you for that. Yes there are some interesting tidbits there. LOL! His least favourite foods : peanut butter and root beer. I have to agree on the root beer!

The link didn't transfer in full so here it is again, (or I'll try) in case other readers want to follow it