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Wolfgang Puck Quotes

Wolfgang Johannes Puck

Wolfgang Puck quotes: insight from the rich restaurateur.

“Only you can judge your life.  You have to live up to your own expectations.”

“I have made my fair share of business mistakes.”

“I learned… not to do anything that I’m not an expert at.”

“All of you out there, you have to be patient, you have to learn.”

“You are the future.  You are who are going to make this country the number one country.”

“Aspiring entrepreneurs should learn as much as they can before opening their own businesses.”

“Gain as much experience before, make your mistakes so that way you don’t have to pay for it; somebody else will pay for it.  Once you open your own business, you’ll have to pay for it.”

“To be good at anything you have to learn the skills.”

“Make a point of choosing your next business move based on what your fans want.”

“Don’t forget: never take no for an answer.  If I would have taken no for an answer, I probably would have been down the river.  Today I have a wonderful family with four kids.  I love what I do, I have a big business, but I consider it a family business, and to me, there’s nothing better than looking out at the next generation.”

“We have to find a mentor, somebody for us to look up to.”

“I think it’s really important to keep on staying motivated.”

“People are visual and hands-on learners.”

“You have to give people something new.  You can’t keep working on the same old thing forever.”

“For me, change is the most important thing, evolution is the most important thing.  For me, it’s how to find the right middle ground between tradition and innovation.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve always thought that if you are visible you can really make a difference.  We have to do something new and something different when you can.”

“I like to be firm.  But it is easier to be nice than to be nasty.”

“A chef is a mixture maybe of artistry and craft.  You have to learn the craft really to get there.”

“Cooking is like painting or writing a song.  Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors.  It’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”

“A good chef has to be a manager, a businessman and a great cook.  To marry all three together is sometimes difficult.”

“The restaurant industry is tough, though, and even celebrity chefs often struggle to convert fame into profit.  Passion is what’s essential for those wanting to venture into the restaurant industry.  They have to have passion for food, the passion for hospitality.  It’s not a business where you sit in an office and just look at the computer and numbers.  The numbers come after.  First, you have to make the customer happy.”

“My renewed confidence is that my brand of fine dining remains as popular as ever.  How many restaurants can say after so many years that they are still on top?  That shows that you have to change and evolve.  We keep busy.”

“You have to make more money than you spend, that’s my first thing.  I didn’t have to go to Harvard or Princeton for that.”

“When you have made as many mistakes as I have, then you can be as good as me.”

“I learn more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes.”

“Restaurants are like having children: it’s fun to make them, maybe, but then you have them for good and bad.  You are going to have to raise them and if something goes wrong when they are 30 years old, they will still be your little boy.”

“I used to write cookbooks.  It was a passion to try to bring healthy and fun recipes to people’s homes.  It was a way to bring my home to theirs.  My passion for writing cookbooks really came from my love of collecting cookbooks.”

“Collecting cookbooks is still my biggest passion!  Believe it or not, I actually got the biggest form of inspiration from my kids.  My kids do everything online.  They would have their tablets in front of them watching hours upon hours of online videos.  I came to understand that these videos were actually teaching my kids lots of different forms of information.”

“I want to teach people how to do it the right way.  And it is from that they can teach their children how to do it properly.  It will teach them how to cook better and healthier at home.”

“I believe that food and what we put in our body is important for our health.  And I always said, if we would have more chefs and more people cooking at home better, we would need less doctors, because eating all this junk food, all this crap out there, which is fried, which is processed… I mean, how many times you go to the supermarket, everything has to be processed, everything is manipulated, everything is re-engineered.”

“It is going to have healthy food and exercise mixed together.  With smaller portions, and more exercise, you live a better life.”

“I grew up so poor in Austria that we never took a vacation with my family.  I left school when I was 14 to work in kitchens.”

“My first experience with cooking was in my childhood.  My mother was a professional chef in a hotel in Austria and every summer, I used to work with her and the pastry chef in the kitchen—and that was really the beginning of it all.  I left school when I was 14 and I started an apprenticeship in the south of France; and that was really tough but it was also the first job that led me to believe that I wanted to be a chef and have my own restaurant.”

“I’m wildly successful now, but I took a huge risk when I opened my first restaurant.  Spago opened in West Hollywood in 1982.  I didn’t know if I would make payroll.  I had no money in the bank when the restaurant opened, but fortunately it proved to be a hit.  It was like a fire, it was so crazy-busy, people had to wait for a table even with a reservation.”

“If you told your parents that you wanted to become a chef, they wouldn’t take you seriously.  Today cooking is the exact opposite; people see chefs on TV all the time and I think that really changed everyone’s approach to cooking.  Now, instead of becoming lawyers, doctors, or businessmen, young people are going to chef school!”

“I enrolled in Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program—an achievement I am proud of since I began culinary training at 14 and never graduated from high school or college.”

“I learned a lot about negotiation, I learned a lot about marketing and how really to explain my vision better to everybody.”

“In the old times, it was my way or the highway.  If you don’t like it, forget about it.  That attitude was not particularly good for me or the other party.  I since learned that a better negotiation tactic was to think about what the other party wants from the deal.”

“The restaurant business is my passion.  Television is boring to me; I do it just to stay in the picture a little bit, so that they know I’m still there.  People are so visually affected.  Do I need it?  No, but once in a while it’s okay—whenever it’s good for me and I don’t have to travel.”

“I never say that today I’m successful and so now I’m just going to cruise.”

“My most recognizable asset is my trademark energy.  At 65, I’m still looking to broaden my reach, possibly by expanding into the hotel industry.”

“I love what I do, so I make this my hobby.  My hobby is not golf; my hobby is cooking.  Not many people still enjoy what they do when they’re 65 years old.  I consider myself lucky.”

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