Food, Home & Lifestyle

Wolfgang's Business Philosophy

Wolfgang Puck

Lesson time 15:42 min

Wolfgang shares the insight he's gained from years building a global brand. Analyzing his triumphs and failures, Wolfgang teaches the importance of risk-taking, innovation, and evolution.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Take Risks • Always Evolve and Innovate • Value Creativity • Be Open to Opportunity • Be Willing to Succeed or Fail • Reinvent Yourself • Balance What Counts


Before I opened Spago in Las Vegas, there was no really good restaurant, well-known restaurant in Las Vegas. When we opened there, it was a risk. But part of my life is taking risks. If you want to be successful without taking any risk, it might be very difficult. I remember already as a kid I did ski jumping. And I said, I want to jump the farthest. So I took off as fast as I can, went down as low as possible, and stood up and tried to fly, and then landed and crashed, and wiped out totally. So I said, I didn't win because I wiped out, but I sure jumped farther than any other kid, you know? And so even as a young kid, I always took the risk. When leaving my home, maybe it would have been more safe staying at home, even with my stepfather being such a terrorist. It would still have been safer, in a way, then going 50 miles away to a new place. So now, in business, I have the same philosophy. So I took the risk. Go to Las Vegas, open a restaurant. And you know what? At the first few weeks, I thought it was the biggest mistake I ever made. We opened in beginning December, where every show was closed, and I knew Siegfried and Roy, you know, they are from Germany, they didn't perform. And the restaurant was empty. I had nine waiter station in the restaurant, and maybe we did 40 dinners. So for each waiter, we had one table. And then we got this great write-up in the Las Vegas paper. And after that came out, we had 60 or 70 guests. So that was in the summer. I said, oh my god, that's the biggest nightmare for me. I knew maybe this time I went too far. There's no customer who want to come to our restaurant in Vegas. They have all the big buffets. They're all-you-can-eat stuff and so forth. And I remember I used to go home at night, sit on the couch-- I rented an apartment not far from the restaurant-- sit on the couch with a bottle of red wine, drunk the whole bottle, and fell asleep in front of the television, waking up at six in the morning like all crooked and say, oh my god, now I have to go back there again. Three weeks later was New Year's. It got busy. And now, it's busy ever since. For 20 years, the restaurant is packed. Now you have more restaurants in Las Vegas from famous chefs than in any other city, I think. But we were there first. [MUSIC PLAYING] Well to me, if you would ask me who do I want today, a chef who is really creative or a chef who just execute, obviously to me creative is the most important thing. And I actually talked to Joe Roth the other day, who used to run the Disney studio and everything. And I said, how you run your studios? What do you have to do to be successful? And he said, you know, it's about creative, about having creative people in charge. You always can find somebody to run the studio, to do the financial, to do the business work. But if you're not c...

About the Instructor

Legend has it Wolfgang Puck came up with his famous smoked salmon pizza when his restaurant ran out of bagels—and ended up changing the way America cooks. In his MasterClass, the five-time James Beard Award-winning chef behind more than 100 restaurants brings you into his kitchen. You’ll learn not only how to master starters, mains, sides, and cocktails, but also how to take risks to create memorable recipes of your own.

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Wolfgang Puck

In 16 lessons, learn exclusive recipes and cooking techniques from the chef behind Spago and CUT.

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