Guest Star Spotlight: Wolfgang Puck

by in Food Network Star, July 19, 2011
Wolfgang Puck Check out our on-set interview with this week's guest star, Wolfgang Puck.

At the Food Network Star dinner table this week sat a culinary icon: Wolfgang Puck, one of the first-ever "celebrity" chefs. We stole a few minutes with him to chat about everything from his favorite comfort foods to his own first on-camera experience. Jyll, don't sweat it — Wolfgang knows what it's like to be nervous!

What did you think about Wolfgang's impromptu risotto tutorial (and Jyll's response)?

Plus: Want more behind-the-scenes time with Wolfgang Puck? Check out Food Network Magazine's peek into his home kitchen.

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Comments (112)

  1. BV52 says:

    At the outset I want to mention that I have great respect for WP. His comment that people who do not even know how to turn on the stove and want to become FNS is a bit much, if they do not have talent and yet selected as the finalists then it is the fault of the FN process and not the contestants. Sara, Jyll did not "sweat it" at all and maybe if she, Susie and Giada would have praised her (then again maybe not...they seem to give conflicting advise). She may have a bad dish but if someone like WP wanted to take her to the kitchen (which again he should not have done; read comments on previous blog) anyone in her spot would have broken down. She held her head high and was so respectful about WP when she introduced to her peers that he was in their kitchen. I really commend her for that and she should have been praised rather than be reproached by the judges. I think we had enough crying with Alicia and judges did not empathise with her rather chided her (correctly so). WP was there to judge and not teach, and I thought it was uncalled for.

    • tanyadeiss says:

      Totally agree with you .. He was there to judge not to teach..

    • Smile says:

      I agree!

    • Jean says:

      Mr. Puck was TOTALLY out of line, even Flay let the JC word slip..however Susies comment really pissed me off, she acted like Jyll was being an airhead by NOT breaking down, yet they constantly lambasted Alicia for breaking down...so it would just be nice to have judges who were NOT schitophrenic in their judging approach. The thought that Jyll is "fake" is ridiculous!!!! she smiles, she loves life and she is not negative...if that is fake then there should be MORE FAKE people on that show rather then a backstabber like Penny! I am glad she is gone, her and Chris drama mama...let the games begin, Jyll will come out on top!!!!!

    • linj says:

      I agree.

  2. Stoutboy says:

    Very tacky and grandstanding, Wolfgang. But at least you had the courtesy to praise Jyll for her composure in the aftermath. Catty Giada and Clueless Susie Fogelman: you on the other hand should be ashamed of yourselves. I thought Jyll handled what must have been an extremely embarrassing moment with extraordinary poise. Why should she have displayed emotion, or have broken down and gotten all grovelly? Jyll is not my favorite contestant, I'll be the first to say, but I have to hand it to her. Her reaction was cool, calm and collected. A very admirable performance.

    • tanyadeiss says:

      It was so unfair of Giada and Susie to make those comments! Am thinking its probably because of people like Susie and Giada that FNS has increasing shades of drama in their show and less cooking! They don't want composure, guess crying, bitching and whining is what they like to see!

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      Yes and for her composure alone, she deserved to stay. This week.

    • JimH says:

      Totally agree, She handled that whole episode with WP with dignity and grace in the face of humiliation. She earned some points in my book this week.

      • Robert Ostrowski says:

        JimH - I agree with you that Jyll handled the episode with WP in the proper way - in fact, after watching it more closely this evening, I clearly saw for myself that Jyll said"Yes" to having WP come into her kitchen to show her how to make risotto right. She definitely earned some points in MY book this week - just as she did in yours! Unfortunately, after watching the sneak preview of next week, it appears she will be the next to go home soon, along with Mary Beth.

    • LCNicole says:

      Wolfgang should be ashamed of himself. He was a show-off. We all know he can cook, give me a break! I found him very annoying and I dislike people like him. I also disagree with Giada and Susie, Jyll handled herself beyond expectation. I applaud her for not letting the old man cry and that is just what he is - an old, arragant man who thinks he is the greatest. Take a lesson in humility Wolfgang from Bobby Flay. Wolfgang, I will never go to anyone of your restaurants no matter how good it is.

    • guest says:

      I was totally turned off by Puck and Bobby Flay. Puck was outrageously arrogant and Bobby Flay, who I think is always arrogant, were total turn-offs. Flay's blasphemous cursing was inexcusable. Giada and Susie are too full of themselves since I find Giada's phony, teethy smile to be so pretentious that I don't like to watch her. Of all the network "stars" I like Guy Fieri, Paula and Michael Symon. I don't have a favorite this year. I picked Guy Fieri from the get-go to be the winner last time.

  3. norealityhere says:

    Sorry, but I think Wolfgang came off as totally pretentious and arrogant.
    At least, he did praise Jyll afterward for her composure.
    Susie and Giada needed to do the same. They just came off as tactless witches.

    • mess188 says:

      Well, I agree that the judges are elitists , especially Bob T. His liberalism shows through in so many ways...hard to watch. I remember when Giada and Bobby Flay first started, they were so green. Bobby was a little arrogant when doing the show with ?I forget his name, (the southerner with the suspenders". He put down this nice guy quite often. When Giada started she hardly looked at the camera!! So when judges talk about these contestants re: some of the things they themselves have done it turns me off!! Wont be watching anymore.

      • stillstanding says:

        Liberalism? Really? Sure you don't mean self importance, smugness, or maybe presumption? Or did you mean a political orientation that favors social progress by reform and by changing laws rather than by revolution? I didn't pick that up from Mr Tushman. Either which way, hardly traits exclusive to the elite. Unless I'm wrong.

  4. Kiki says:

    I thought that Wolfgang was fine pointing out the risotto. The only way to learn is from your mistakes, and I think that Jyll learned a lot. I also thought that Giada and Susie were very rude as far as the way they criticized Jyll. I thought she handled the lesson very well, she hardly even cried!

  5. ChrisB says:

    I posted about Jyll's predicament on the previous blog that I would have been honored to have Chef Puck take me under his wing and offer his sage advice. Unlike some who feel that Puck's reaction was extreme, I think WP felt that Jyll was worth his time and attention. Chef Puck recognized her potential and used this "teachable moment" to share his expertise with Jyll, and she handled the situation with dignity, poise, and respect.

    • MotorCityFoodie says:

      Kudos to Jyll for handling this difficult situation with class and grace. If she is successful in any future culinary ventures, she may look back to this "turning point" in her cooking career.

    • Doug says:

      Interesting point of view. Your positive outlook on what happened actually makes a lot of sense to me.

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      On one hand, I'm not sure I'd feel 'honored' for anyone, much less a highly regarded master chef, to throw down his napkin, tell me basically my dish sucked and then totally interrupt the shoot to school me in front of my peers (if it was indeed spontaneous...which it might not have been although Jyll might not have been clued in...the other chefs didn't look all that surprised). Kind of, "thank you sir may I have another". On the other hand, I hope Jyll reads this and takes comfort in the fact that WP didn't even bother to waste his camera time demonstrating to Chris how to make a chocolate cake, so that's saying something.

      • Danny A. says:

        For what it's worth, it's not uncommon for chefs to be imperious and dress down cooks. Not that it was fine, but WP's reaction was infinitely milder than I have witnessed personally. Jyll handled herself exactly as she should have. (Not sure on what planet is sobbing on camera "real" or "relatable.")

        P.S. Whitney DID try to warn Jyll about the risotto discreetly when she asked "Um, are you happy with the texture of that?" (or words to that effect) and Jyll either ignored it or disregarded it.

    • Marsha says:

      I thought, also, that it was arrogant and rude. He could have waited until the meal was over. But, then, the cameras might not have been rolling.

    • thederwood says:

      All very possible, if it wasn't a competition, and if the cameras weren't rolling. But he is old school European. Maybe that's the real reason for being a douche

  6. calpolymom says:

    I was appalled at Susie's and Giada's rude comments about how Jyll handled this. In fact, I think the judging this year has been absolutely terrible. Bob is okay, but those other two witches need to be replaced. In fact, definitely replace Giada. Her expiration date is long past and I'm sick of her sickening grimacing smile and her cleavage.

    • Susan says:

      I so applaud your comments! You rock calpolymom!!

    • tanyadeiss says:

      With you on that pretentious smile and enough with that cleavage already!
      That was a great way to put it, 'expiration date'?? !! ! ROFL!!

    • Margaret says:

      I couldn't agree more! I think Giada is a two face beeswax. She's all that isn't she. She can sit there at the judges table like a peacock. Stick your tail feathers in your face Giada. I hate her show anyway, Anyone notice how she talks to her audience like shes talking to pre-schoolers.

    • Food Lover says:

      Agree and nicely said. By the way, which Cal-Poly? I graduated from Cal-Poly, Pomona (won't divulge the year).

    • mess188 says:

      Cant stand Bob Tuschman. Typical liberal elitist. As for the judges chef judges...they all started out really green. Bobby Flay has an attitude that I find very condescending!! I remember when he started doing the show with that southerner with the suspenders (forgot his name). He was to rude to him. When Giada started she didnt even look at the camera!! Getting tired of the whole food network station and the elitism seen there!!

    • Guest says:

      Too true--notice that Susie and Giada complain that Jyll is artificial and her reactions aren't "real" enough while their own botoxed faces barely move--apparently without intending irony!

  7. Bob says:

    When Wolfgang took Jill into the kitchen, I clearly heard Bobby Flay take Gods name in vain. I don't like it. That was uncalled for on national tv. Maybe many people said "oh well, it's no big deal", but to us Christians, it is a big deal. That is uncalled for, it should have been cut. But then knowing that the Food Network is also left-wing, they don't care. I think Bobby Flay should appologize for that.

    • Stoutboy says:

      Your political observation is undeniably the most idiotic comment I've ever seen here. You are a real piece of work. Burn any mac and cheese lately?

    • terichef says:

      I'm with you. Thank you.

    • JimH says:

      Please, get over it! For God's sake.

    • Doug says:

      You don't deserve ANY apology. In fact, since you want to bring up that subject, which god are you referring too? YOUR Christian god? Now according to YOUR own standards, YOU would owe ME an apology, but in fact you don't. Part of being a citizen of this country is listening to comments, reading the opinions, or witnessing the actions of people who sometimes make my blood boil while they exercise their constitutional rights, just like your blog.

      By the way, please carefully read the 1st amendment to the U.S. constitution. You didn't violate it with your ignorantly offensive blog, but neither did he with his comment. The FN is about FOOD. It isn't about left-wing or right-wing or any other wing unless they're referring to poultry.

      • JJ Jr. says:

        You're way off base, Doug. It WAS an offensive thing for him to say, but I realize lots of people toss the Lord's name around like that all the time. But for FN to allow it on air was out of line. You think they'd have left in something like "this dish tastes like $h*t?" Why not? How about a few f-bombs? I'm sure they've been caught on tape as well during the filming of this show, haven't heard one of those get on air yet. Left-wing/right-wing has nothing to do with this and I honestly don't see why Bob thought FN's politics matter in this.

        • Doug says:

          I'll acknowledge that it was obviously offensive to some people and probably could have been cut, but nothing more. I WAS a bit off base about that I suppose. Thanks for your comment.

          • Stoutboy says:

            You were right the first time. The show airs after 9pm. So it can have more provocative language. Maybe the holy rollers need to get a God chip to block out all objectionable content. That gives me an idea actually. Some entrepreneurial type could make bank in this prudish country.

          • Sgt. Rock says:

            I can see Stoutboy has already punched his ticket to hell

        • attheamericantable says:

          But it was Bob who brought politics into the conversation. My issue is - who decides what is offensive? A Native American mascot? The name of God taken in vain? Two actors playing a married couple sharing a bed? An actress's belly-button? All of these have been censored in the past...what's next?
          If Bob, JJ and other like them feel that strongly about it then they need to address the network and Bobby Flay.

    • 666 says:

      There's such a thing as left-winged Christians.

    • MercuryCyclops says:

      Last I checked, Jesus was not God, but his son. Bobby did not take God's name in vain.

      • Sgt. Rock says:

        Umm...You better check your Bible Merc, Jesus is God.

        • MercuryCyclops says:

          Christ our Lord, son of God the Father. Different entities, or that's what I take it as.

          Jesus is the son of God. Bobby Flay took the Lord's name in vain, not God's.

        • Mis en place says:

          The Ten Commandments were written before Jesus existed (accepting your premise that he did exist) .

          • Lea says:

            Read the first chapter.....in fact, read it all - Jesus was there from the beginning. And He will be there in the end. You might learn a few things about this amazing life.

      • Lea says:

        Yep, you better read the Bible. It's all there.......

    • Joyce says:

      Bob,
      You made some valid points but you totally lost me with the "left wing" comment. This is a food show!

    • Richard says:

      Get over yourself Bob, you obviously don't watch much TV.
      From a conservative Christian.

      • beachinfrizzy says:

        I am too and feel the same way. It's not for us to condemn. If we don't like it we can boycott the network, the world isn't a perfect bubble. Let Irish-Catholic Bobby-boy take whatever come-uppance he's got coming (if any, no idea how devout he is or claims to be, if at all) the next time he goes to confession or happens to run into Father O'Malley or Sister Mary Pat at his next book signing.

    • JimH says:

      What? Are we supposed to tip-toe around Christians just because we might upset your delicate sensibilities? Forget that! Learn to live with it.

    • Doug says:

      I have another question to pose:

      Was Bobby Flay really taking your christian lord's name in vain or was he praying for your Jesus to help him through that moment? Perhaps asking his lord what he should do or say?

      It seems as though that probably gets misconstrued pretty often. Could that be the case here?

    • anon says:

      Why are we having a 21-reply discussion about religion? Isn't this a Food Channel website?

    • Douglas says:

      I was a BIG fan of Bobby Flays, but hearing him so easily take the Lords name in vain upsets me as a fellow Christian and avid fan of Food Network. At the very least it should have be bleeped or cut out. I am very surprised and disappointed in Both Bobby Flay and Food Network and would expect a public apology from both.

    • Lea says:

      Bob, I agree with you about Bobby. Bobby certainly has his right to his beliefs about his own religion but I think you must walk a fine on network television. Many of us want to watch Food TV or HGTV to get away from the depressive reality shows and have no redeeming qualities. The most I can hope for on a food show or design show is it is clean and I can learn something. Maybe that could have been edited out. And please, network, or anyone else out there, don't act like it is no big deal. Had he used Mohammed's name instead...........think about it.

  8. Christina says:

    As much as i think that Wolfgang is an amazing chef, he is way too arrogant and extremely rude. I agree Jyll should learn from her mistakes, but embarrassing her like that in front of her competitors judges, and live TV was not necessary. Jeffrey Saad once made a risotto two seasons ago for "elite chefs" and they said it was not a risotto and a disrespect to Italy. But they didn't embarrass him by showing him how to make it. You should give credit to Jyll and Jeff for being ambitious. In the previous season, Wolfgang was incredibly rude to one of the contestants by saying if he gave his wife the contestant's food that he served, she would divorce him. It really is disgusting to see that some celebrity chefs are so entitled.

  9. Doug says:

    What was that train wreck about?! I personally think Wolfgang may have lost a few of his marbles. His behavior was REALLY inappropriate. Jyll DID NOT need a lesson in making risotto. I STILL don't know what the judges thought of the dish. She made it the way SHE likes it and she stood behind it. Wolfgang didn't even try it did he?

    Is it just me or did Bobby Flay unintentionally set a few people up for failure in the first round? As for Giada, was she really commenting again on someone being genuine on camera? Isn't that a lot like the pot calling the kettle black? I know Bob was the one who discovered her and he's so proud of that, but is she really that popular or was she rammed down our throats? Does anyone think that she's nearly as good on camera as past NFNS winners Guy Fieri or Melissa d'Arabian?

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot my comment based on the "Penny for Your Thoughts" blog...

    Grant Dudley,
    Your completely wrong.
    Sincerely,
    Doug

    • tanyadeiss says:

      Totally agree with you Doug on that Pot calling the kettle black!!! I was almost about to write that in my own comment!

    • Mis en place says:

      Actually, Jyl did need a lesson in making risotta which is a classic dish that has to have certain elements (i.e. spreading on the plate) in order to qualify as a risotto. If she wanted to make a rice dish that didn't meet the criteria for risotto then she should have called it something else. And saying "This is the way my family likes it" is a specious excuse. If you make a tossed salad with bottled Italian dressing, untoasted bread cubes, and Cheddar cheese it is NOT a Caesar salad just because you call it that.

  10. tanyadeiss says:

    Totally annoyed by Wolfgang Puck's reaction, very snobbish and condescending. I would expect more tolerance from a reknowned chef like that, not jump in to a cooking lesson at the sight of a badly done dish!Probably he never had bad days at all in his early days! I thought Jyll took it well, Susie and Giada are totally crazy to call it fake.. I find it funny that Giada, who I find super fake on camera called it fake. Not sure what their expectation was on this! May be Jyll should have cried like a baby and they would be pretty commiserating then!

    • beachinfrizzy says:

      If she cried like a baby like they expected, they would have told her she needed to 'grow a thicker skin' because 'you have to take criticism in showbiz'. And then they could shove her into the 'she's just not strong enough' box. So they had to do a 180 and give her the 'we know you're upset but you didn't show it so therefore you aren't being genuine enough' treatment to fit nicely into the 'Jyll isn't relatable' edit that she's been given throughout the cycle.