Documentary Review: WOLFGANG on Disney Plus!

When you think about the Los Angeles food scene in the 1980’s does the name Wolfgang Puck come to mind? Read on for a review of the documentary WOLFGANG streaming on Disney Plus!

From director David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), and the creators of Chef’s TableWOLFGANG is a candid, inspiring and emotional documentary that follows a legend as he reckons with the price of his dreams. 

After a troubled childhood in Austria, Wolfgang Puck pursued his dreams, becoming the world’s most famous chef, along the way inventing a radically new American cuisine and creating the very concept of the “celebrity chef.”  This is the inspiring and emotional true story of the man behind the legend.

When you think about the Los Angeles food scene in the 1980’s does the name Wolfgang Puck come to mind? Disney’s WOLFGANG, streaming via Disney Plus, takes the viewer on a fast adventure through Wolfgang Puck’s life from his traumatic childhood to his second marriage and brand-building journey.

The documentary starts with Wolfgang Puck describing growing up in Austria. He was an illegitimate child and when his mother remarried, this set him on his life’s journey of becoming a cook. Puck’s stepfather was extremely abusive bother physically and verbally. He constantly told Puck that he wasn’t worthy and couldn’t do anything right. As a young teen, he left home and found solace in the kitchen of a hotel.

Studying under a French chef expanded Puck’s knowledge of cooking and when he got the opportunity to cook in Los Angeles, he jumped at the chance. Perhaps eager to run from his abusive past, Puck arrived in LA not knowing anyone and unsure of where to work. In LA he was broke but quickly found a job at the run-down restaurant Ma Maison, run by Patrick Terrail.

Puck is honest about their relationship, telling the camera that Patrick never truly appreciated his hard work. After a parting of ways, Puck along with his first wife Barbara Lazeroff opened Spago which essentially became the first “celebrity” restaurant.

WOLFGANG relies on Puck’s words plus interviews with former staff and his first wife. There is a sense of regret that Puck conveys especially when it comes to his family but when you start to pay attention to his accomplishments it shouldn’t be surprising. Hard work is just a part of his DNA and he speaks candidly about losing his family while trying to build an empire. With the opening of more restaurants around the world, his frozen food line, books plus appearances on cooking shows, Puck certainly showed his stepfather and the world what he is capable of.

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