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. JimH says:

    Much of what this is all about is ratings. They have just tried to hard to create some drama which for some reason they thought they needed. Reading most of the comments here it seems that this notion of drama has just been way overplayed and seems to have even backfired on them.

  2. Mis en place says:

    I did not for one moment (judging by Wolgang Puck's demeanor and tone of voice) perceive that he was being anything other than a great chef whose natural inclination is to impart his knowledge to a fledgling chef in whom he sees promise. It saddens me that so many people would demonize him instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt. Everyone seems to think Jyl handled the incident with grace and style. It strikes me that one of the reasons she was able to do that was because (although she might have been embarrassed) she didn't feel intimidated by his attitude and actions. Wouldn't it have been worse if WP had just made a damning comment? And consider that WP was very positive about Jyl's presentation and personality while Susie and Giada tore her apart. I tink WP was truly trying to help someone in whom he saw potential. Let's cut him some slack!

    • Marsha says:

      If you think she wasn't intimidated, I don't believe we were watching the same show.
      Digging your fingernails into your hand is not something we do when we are having fun.

    • Food Lover says:

      His slack has been officially cut (and I'm not even an official and I don't where the "slack" is either). Some people have the personality and ability to chastise another person (there is a word for that but I am not going to say it) in a low tone of voice and not above their breath. It's easy for them because they are on a power trip. I beleive that initially Jyll was "a deer caught in the headlights" and after she caught her breath, handled the situation with grace and dignity. And WP didn't really care if he taught her anything, he just (again) wanted the center stage.

    • linj says:

      Are you kidding? WP was not there to teach, but to judge! That was very arrogant and insensitive to what he did to Jyll. I can't believe that anyone including WP in his early years would want to be treated like that on television. The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

  3. Jeremy says:

    Wolfgang gave her an opportunity.

    Had they all just panned the dish, she would have been just another failure, with nothing positive to take out of it. What Chef Puck did was to test her on a pair of necessary qualities for a television personality; the ability to endure criticism and to display professionalism in difficult situations. Undoubtedly, that was his intent; he says as much in this video.

  4. Food Lover says:

    C'mon. He (WP) made excuses to hide his poor behavior. He wasn't out to give Jyll or us anything but to show us how great he thinks he is. If he truly cared about her, he would hire her, teach her, and not humiliate her. He has become a legend in his own mind!

  5. Gus Kolic says:

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  6. shanna1560 says:

    I am sooooooooo happy Penny is gone, she was a good cook, but unfortunately on TV you have to have a good personality and be a good cook. Penny lacked a good personality, she was mean and vindictive. I think it was out of place to embarrass Jyll though, I mean couldn't Wolfgang quietly without everyone being around told Jyll she didn't make a good risotto?

  7. Dee-Anna Ramirez says:

    The "dinner" with Wolfgang Puck proved to be the most awkward and unpleasant. He and all of the other FN stars seemed so arrogant. Wolfgang could have made his comments without humiliating Jyll in front of everyone. To top it off, Susie, Giada, and Bobby had to add insult to injury by saying she was "artificial." Bobby needs to use professional language on TV as he took Jesus' name in vain during this time. I lost a lot of respect for the FN selection committee last Sunday night.

    I also believe that the challenges need to be structured so that the contestants are more likely to succeed rather than fail. It seems as though they are structured so that contestants are more likely to fail than succeed. The committee is more adversarial than seems fair. If one looks back at Giada's, Bobby's, and Mario's first camera challenges, they were awful. They need to revisit their early days and remember from where they came.

    • LindaSta says:

      I follow and understand your reasoning. about the early days on FN. I've thought the same thing myself. However, Bobby, Giada, Mario, Tyler and even Emeril came to Foodnetwork in its infancy and in a time when they didn't really have many role models to follow other than Julia, (whose earliest shows would be considered a disaster today) and Graham Kerr whose antics make Chris look like a tame and polished pro; Maybe something elemental has been lost, but the thing is that we can watch these people - maybe even the ones we don't have much care for - and learn BECAUSE they have learned from the stars who preceded them.
      Maybe someday we will be pointing at one or more of these guys and saying something similar. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

    • Brenda says:

      Dee-Anna,
      I have issues with what Bobby Flay said. He is just as arrogant as Wolfgang. I used to really like him, but I am not sure anymore. I think Food Network owes alot of their viewers an apology. I expect some of the language on other cable shows but not on a "food" show. Please.

  8. breyasmommy says:

    I would have told Wolfgang where to stick that "puck"......

  9. Guest says:

    There is a way for an experienced chef to teach and/or correct a younger chef, and that was definitely not it. I thought Wolfgang Puck's speech and behavior was arrogant and condescending, and I can't help but feel that the whole audience felt sorry for Jyll. I would be easier on Mr. Puck had he not exhibited the same type of behavior last year toward a contestant for his undercooked beignets. Instead of just commenting, "Sorry, but these are undercooked" he went into a rant about them being "unacceptable" and almost brought that contestant to tears as well. Please, NFNS, do not allow him to judge or "mentor" in the future! I don't want to watch such rude behavior again, nor do I want to see hard-working contestants humiliated on national tv. Whether or not Jyll is to be a contender for the big prize is not the issue here. The issue is the way the contestants ought to be treated by the experienced chefs/mentors, and that sort of attitude to me is quite "unacceptable."

  10. guest says:

    Bobby Flay's language (which he apparently uses often) was completely unacceptable. I don't care if some of the viewers may not think it is blasphemy, many of us do and I am sure the network would not allow participants to insult any other group of people of faith like they do Christians. This has become a real problem for many of us to even watch and support many of these shows. Maybe the sponsors should consider how many people these shows are offending. I can only assume that the producers are actively anti-Christian and that is not acceptable.