A Slice With: Chef Wolfgang Puck

Chefs love pizza too. So we're chatting up chefs from around the country about their favorites, their home-pizzamaking habits, and their beloved childhood pizza memories. Today's victim: Wolfgang Puck, a legend of California-style pizza.


[Photograph: Amanda Marsalis]

What pizzas did you love to eat as a kid?

I still remember eating my first pizza in Grado, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea—it was rather bland and boring. The first good pizza I ate was at a restaurant in Provence called Chez Guy.

What's the greatest pizza you've had in recent memory?

Just last week, I had a pizza with goat cheese, fresh mozzarella and white truffles with a glass of Barolo. Even my five-year old son, Oliver, thought it was the best pizza he ever had.

Where do you go regularly for pizza?

Most of the time I try our pizzas in our airport cafes, though I always ask them to cook them well done so the crust is crispy. And I do like the one with pesto and shrimp.

What's your favorite topping combination?

To me, pizza is an earthy dish, so adding different kinds of cheeses like Fontina, mozzarella, and goat cheese, and herbs like thyme or oregano with a little caramelized garlic, roasted sweet peppers, red onions, and prosciutto—that's my favorite combination. And when the pizza is done, I'll grate a little fresh Parmesan on top.


No PB&J for Chef Puck! [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

That does sound delicious. Is there anything you would never eat on a pizza?

Peanut butter—I will never eat it on a pizza or a sandwich.

Do you ever make pizza at home? If so, what's your method?

Preheat the oven to 500°F with a pizza stone inside. I always have some pizza dough in the freezer. So when my sons, Oliver and Alexander, want to play with me in the kitchen, I just take a few dough balls out of the freezer and let them sit on the kitchen counter, covered, until they're defrosted. Stretching the dough with the kids is a lot of fun. We throw the dough in the air, then place the dough on a small cutting board or a pizza paddle. Brush the dough with olive oil or tomato sauce, grate some fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, and a little goat cheese on top. Bake it for eight to ten minutes. On the slices that I eat, I'll add a few chile flakes and some fresh basil.

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