Wolfgang Puck | Don’t Take No for an Answer & Daily Diligence You Need to Succeed

Show Notes

On Today’s Show We Interview Wolfgang Puck about:

    1. How he created a celebrity chef empire
    2. How is mother taught him the love of cooking
    3. Why I buy my wife 2 cans of Wolfgang Puck’s organic soup every week
  1. On today’s show we are interviewing the Austrian celebrity chef who has been able to build an entrepreneurial empire.
  2. Wolfgang, my understanding is that you first started cooking in Austria where your mother was also a chef. I would love for you share about when you first developed your love for cooking?
    1. My mother is an incredible person and the only mistake she has made was to marry my stepfather
    2. Every summer when I was 12, 13 and 14 years old I would spend time in the kitchen with her
    3. At that age, any kind of food you get from the kitchen makes you happy. I really did get started early on
    4. When I was 14 I had to decide whether or not to go to school. I talked to my mom and said “I think I’m going to be a cook.”
    5. I left my home at 14 because of my stepfather and pursued my passion
    6. In Austria there are no street names, only dirt roads. We had gardens and no running water. If you wanted vegetables, you had to go outside and pick them.
    7. My grandmother and my mother were incredible cooks. I got lucky because fresh food was so readily available to cook.
  3. When did you decide that being a chef was what you wanted to do?
  4. Wolfgang, when you were just 17 years old you left and went to France where you stayed for 7 years. What motivated you to want to move to France and what inspired you to stay there for 7 years?
    1. We had a restaurant and they were serving snails. They were cooking with wine and that was something I had never seen.
    2. I saw that there were restaurants that were 3, 4 and 5 stars. I decided that I never wanted to go back to Austria and be like these guys.
  5. Wolfgang, how did Cadillac’s, Chevrolet’s and American movies inspire you to want to move to the United States?
    1. As kids in Austria we watched cowboy movies and movies about San Francisco.
    2. I was told that America was a land of opportunity where I could make more money. I was young and it was a great plan.
  6. How many bottles of wine do you have to consume to find snails appealing?
    1. Depends where you grow up.
    2. Some people eat duck feet because that is what they grew up with.
  7. Wolfgang, what was the first job that you landed in New York?
    1. I was a chief in a restaurant in New York.
    2. I walked in and saw that this cooking isn’t what I wanted to do. It was processed pizzas.
    3. I had a friend from Paris that was in New York. He wasn’t hiring but he had a friend who was. That friend was in Indianapolis.
    4. I took a day and a half trip on a Greyhound bus all the way to Indianapolis.
  8. How was life in New York City different from living in Paris, France?
  9. Wolfgang, when and why did you decide to move to Indianapolis?
  10. Wolfgang, who first inspired you to become a restaurant owner?
    1. I grew up in a restaurant called Mamazone
    2. The restaurant grew and grew every month. Although I was a part owner, the other owner wouldn’t let me have full control of the restaurant.
    3. I became successful with the restaurant and people began talking about it.
    4. There were many people who faithfully came to the restaurant and I finally decided to branch off on my own.
    5. In 1981 I found a space on Sunset Boulevard and in 1982 we opened Spago
  11. Wolfgang, who was the mentor that first inspired you the most throughout your career?
  12. What was the process like of opening your first restaurant Spago and where does the name come from?
    1. When you work for 12 hours per day, that is only half a day’s work.
    2. When I opened Spago I, never counted my hours. I just worked. I would wake up at 6:00 am and go to the fish market
    3. Then at 9:00 am come back to the restaurant and have coffee
    4. Next, I would have a meeting with the chiefs about what we will be doing that day.
  13. NOTABLE QUOTABLE: “If you want to work ‘half day’s’ that’s 12 hours, that is half the day” – Wolfgang Puck
  14. How did you find the money needed to open your first restaurant?
    1. I had a cooking school first and had lawyers that would come to the cooking class and one day I announced I wanted to open my own restaurant but don’t have the money
    2. We raised the money by going to the bank. I got $60,000 and in total, we raised $500,000.
    3. In January, we opened Spago. It was an open kitchen. We had a wood burning grill which is something no one had at the time. It became huge.
    4. Every morning I would get fresh foods and we didn’t make it complicated.
    5. We just used the best ingredients and made simple food. It wasn’t complicated.
  15. How did you market your business?
  16. Wolfgang, I understand that Japanese investors reached out to you to open a Spago in Tokyo. Is this correct? How did this happen?
    1. The Japanese people came over due to all of the press we had.
    2. Our restaurant was like none other. They wanted one of these restaurants.
    3. I told them no because I couldn’t manage a restaurant that far away
    4. They came back a few months later with a floor plan exactly like my kitchen.
    5. At the time, I hadn’t gotten a copyright on the name Spago. They told me that they were going to open Spago with or without me. I said “Okay let’s open a Spago in Japan.”
    6. Six months after the restaurant in Japan we opened another restaurant in Santa Monica
    7. Then we opened a Chinese restaurant but it was “my” style of Chinese food. Chinese people ate our food and they said they would come for every Chinese new year’s celebration.
  17. Wolfgang, how did you get the idea to open Shinoi? (SHEE-WAH)
  18. Wolfgang, you sound Austrian…are you actually Chinese?
    1. Today, it doesn’t matter where you are from. You can make any kind of food in America.
  19. Did you have much previous experience making Chinese food before opening Shinoi? (SHEEN-WAH)
  20. We just interviewed the legendary manager of the stars, Shep Gordon…what role did he play in helping you to become a celebrity chef?
    1. When I met Shep Gordon he was in the record business. We became friends because he loved food. We did a thing in Hawaii with Shep and the next day they gave us the bill which we weren’t expecting.
    2. At that time I was getting really busy because I owned so many restaurants. Shep had a lot of other connections that greatly influenced my career. Shep told me “Don’t sell yourself cheap.”
  21. NOTABLE QUOTABLE – ““If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable.  Nobody gets unanimous praise–ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.” – Seth Godin (The best-selling author of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable)
  22. When did you first decide to put your name on all of your restaurants?
    1. Curiosity. A friend of mine brought up the fact that there were not very many canned soups that were good. So we decided to take our great ingredients and put them into a can.
    2. In the 1990’s I was good friends with George Foreman. He asked me why I wasn’t selling pots and pans. I had never sold at that time and didn’t know where to start. I learned how to sell and where to sell and I have stuck with that for 20 years.
    3. My dream was to go to Harvard. I had never gone to High School. The day after I told someone that I wanted to go to Harvard and the very next day, I got a phone call from Harvard. They explained that there is a program where I can get my degree. In just a few months, I will have a degree from Harvard.
    4. People ask why I don’t slow down. I love moving forward.
  23. NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “The goal is to be able to live your life the way Michael Jordan played basketball or Marvin Gaye sang a song. To be able to feel the way you feel when you laugh at a joke but to feel that way all the time.” – Russell Simmons the legendary co-founder of Def Jam records, the founder of Def Comedy Jam and the founder of Phat Farm)
  24. Wolfgang, my understanding is that you never wear a suit and that cooking is the favorite part of your career. Is that correct?
  25. Wolfgang, as of today you’ve written 6 books including:
    1. Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen (1980)
    2. The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook (1986)
    3. Adventures in the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck (1991)
    4. Pizza, Pasta, and More (2000)
    5. Live, Love, Eat (2002)
    6. Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy (2004)
  26. When did you decide to become an author?
  27. Approximately how many of your restaurants are operational today?
  28. How many businesses do you have?
    1. Fine Dining – 27
      1. Dallas
      2. New York
      3. Washington
      4. Singapore
      5. Etc…
    2. Fast Food
    3. Fine Dairy
  29. You have a new restaurant in New York, tell me about that.
    1. With these new restaurants, they are in fact steakhouses but they also have a lot of options. You don’t have to eat meat just because it is a steakhouse. We really let you have a multitude of options when you come into our restaurants.
    2. You can have Japanese or Steak. You can have snacks at the bar. You can have steak on the bone. With all of the food we cook, we keep it simple.
    3. We bring old fashioned food and make them modern again.
    4. We keep it simple and tasty.
    5. It is in the Four Seasons Hotel.
  30. If you could give someone one piece of advice, what would it be?
    1. If you are really passionate about what you do, stick to it. There will be naysayers and negative people. Stick to it and don’t take no for an answer.
    2. Be patient. NOTABLE QUOTABLE: “Success doesn’t come overnight. Success is a bunch of steps, one at a time” – Wolfgang Puck
    3. Cooking is an important part of running a restaurant but you also have to manage your team.
    4. If you work hard and think for yourself, remember 12 hours is only half of a day, be patient and work hard and success will come.
  31. Wolfgang, there are many great chefs are the world. From your perspective who are the other top 2 or 3 chefs on the planet that you respect the most and why?
  32. You come across as a very reactive person despite constant demands on your time. How do you typically organize that first 4 hours of your work day?
    1. I get up at 6am
    2. At 6:30 AM I wake up my son Oliver
    3. At 7:00 AM I train with my personal trainer
    4. I then take a shower and get ready
    5. Then I look at my appointments throughout my day
    6. At 9:00 AM I go to Spago
    7. Sometimes on Wednesdays, I will go to the market.
    8. Then I will eat lunch
    9. Next I’ll come to my office and plan my next restaurants
    10. At 4:30 PM I will go play tennis
    11. From 6:30-7:00 PM I will have dinner with my family
    12. After that I will occasionally go back to the restaurant to check on everything and visit people.
    13. I will typically leave the restaurant at 11:00 PM
  33. Wolfgang Puck, you come across as a very well read person. What is a book or a few books that you would recommend for all of our listeners to check out?
  34. Wolfgang, what is your vision for you the next 12 months of your life?

ACTION ITEM: What is your life’s goal? What brings you joy? Be intentional about living out that dream and throw your all into that dream. Plan out your daily F6 goals so you are intentional about each one of them.

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Audio Transcription

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Hey Andrew, I have this idea. Okay, let me hear. We’ve got a little bit of downtime before we interview our next guest. So why don’t we cold called Wolfgang Puck and see if he actually picks up the phone. Let’s do it. Okay, here we go. This old school rotary phone is awesome. We’re going to find this phone. You use this seriously previous to now, have you ever used a rotary phone? I haven’t. Have you ever used a phone is plugged into a wall? Hello? Are you Wolfgang Puck?

yes, yes, yes and yes they should. On today’s show we have the incredible opportunity to interview viewed as a celebrity chef who’s soup I bought for my wife last week, the tomato basil, Mr Wolfgang Puck. How are you sir?

Excellent, thank you.

A Wolfgang. I’m not sure how much money you make per can of soup, but I bought two cans of soup last week. It had nothing to do with interviewing you. I just buy two cans of your soup every week from an incredible life. So, uh,

I can keep my kids in school for the whole year.

That’s nice. That’s nice. Well, you know, you, you have had so much success, but I’d like to start off at the bottom and the very beginning of your career. And I want to talk about your, your, your mother, uh, your, your mother was also a chef and I loved it for you to share about her love of cooking and how that influenced you and now your love of cooking.

Yeah, no, my mother was an, and I give a person a great mother. I end up pitching the only mistakes, cheat death in her life. It’s married my stepfather, you know, I don’t even want to get into that, into the plot. I was like, you know, like your terror with, for us, for the family that drunk and this and that. But my mother was like, he’s saying no. Every summer when I was like 10, 11, 12, 13 years old, I spent time within the kitchen and never saw an on a lake in Carinthia. She that she is the book and that’s how I met, interested already pressed in pastries, 10, 12 years old, anything sweet ice cream and chocolate cake or whatever it is you’re done. You get the little wet your bed and you are happy. Right? So every time I did that and that, now you’re still healthcare, takes it home, take such that.

So, so I got interested in selling early on and you know, became finally with some of the male end their hotels. My mother walks and uh, uh, little by little I became 14 year old and then I had to decide what to do to go to school. Uh, you know, a tech school or whatever it would be. Uh, Eh, Eh, I wanted to be an architect, but they only had one school. Then Indiana from them. Uh, I talked to my mom, I thought, you know, maybe I’ve kind of become a cook based pastry cook. And then she had her boss found me a job in feed luck at the post hotel and that’s where I started at 14 I left my home [inaudible] because of my stepfather and that’s Tyler to cook professionally

and you’re feeling sorry for yourself that you had to start working at 18 or 19 or 20 I mean, I worked at target and Applebee’s and direct TV all at the same time. I was working 60 hours a week on a slow week, 90 hours a week on an average week if you feel overworked because you have to work as he, as a young guy, I have a motivational quote for you from the incredible American philosopher Adam Sandler. I’ve love for you to share with the listeners out there, we have so many Americans that listened to the show and they’re not familiar with your culture. Why at the age of 14 did you have to choose a profession or a technical school? Can you walk us through your culture you grew up in and why you had to make a decision so young?

Yeah, I wasn’t, I come from my house concerts. I totally, you know, Allen, they love analysis who promise and the few houses, there was no street name. No, I started on the three. So he built roads and everything. If we wanted strawberries are Muslims, we went up in the fall and the winter risky. So, but really in the world I’ll say we had no running water, no Centralia or anything like that. The toilet was at hundred made up outside in the garden and they had forgotten. So I grew up fairly, you don’t know my desk, let’s say we had need once a week.

And then, uh, the rest, my grandmother and my mother were a really good cook. He cooks a lot of sweets, like a dish called palate. Chin cannot take freshman or games tomorrow. Notice payments outside in the hot phase threes. And I think Sundays we had beat us to death or fried chicken. That was our big splurge, you know. And I think I got lucky because it was all farm to table really. You know. But my mother made yesterday was too, she went into Galvin, picks up a leak at two potatoes, some carrots, a little pallet, maybe beans or peas. Chop them up, Cook them and you say like that. Just say so the list and even two days when I used and see what’s in life, I always told your mom, make you bet you they super down like in the summer, right from big garden and uh, you know, she made it and that I said, oh, he reminds me off my job.

So your, your mom was the queen of organic farm to table food before it was a thing. Before it was a category. Your mom may have been the innovator of farm to table. Now when you were 17, when you were 17, I understand that you decided to leave and you went to France where you stayed for seven years. What motivated you to move to France and stayed there for seven years? Wow.

We Ha we had a restaurant from, you show him the 12th they came to cook in our hotel for a week and cook the specialty of Burgundy. Burgundy. The must take nails, you know, but the college by, but I did they put the shelves with it? Yes. Yeah. This smells a invest. Uh, you know, I see them in the GAAP, that’s when it’s writing. [inaudible] eating dead and up cooking with a lot of wine, red wine. And I don’t know how many bottles they use and everything. So I thought, you know, this is really exciting the way they cook. I said I want to go to mine. So I wrote him a letter and separate. Yeah. And I started to block and then after one year we got assigned to give me some time and I look through the guide and they have one stop, two star and three star restaurant.

I said, I’m not going home. Go out. I want to go Kenneth’s face. That was fine. And the first restaurant who said yes, what’s Bowman? Yeah, at Boma. Yeah. And I think that was my luck really, because then I wasn’t even sure if I go to stay as a coke, you know, I liked it, but I bought and really passionate about it. So, but when I saw lea at Bowman, yeah. You watched the chef and owner. Yup. Passion he had for the ingredients. Stay a passion for cooking. I said, I want to be like this guys. And I still remember, you know, looking uh, [inaudible] that alleged there or he bought the castle into the kitchen and I said, you know what? This is about that one I do on top of it. He had 3000 folks. Amazing food.

You are a guy who, I know the listeners out there listening today to enter there. They’re taking notes. Uh, can you give us the recipe? How many bottles of wine do you have to consume before snails become appealing?

Yeah, no, what? We, depends where you grow up. You know, it’s like a backseat or eat the ice off the fear. Stop running. It really depends how you’re brought up. You know, you look at the Chinese studies, everything

well can use it. You say duck feet? Yeah. Wow. That is,

you’ll call me. You’re obviously, you clean them up really well and then you’ll cook them in a good sauce until they get religion. Latinas, all of you actually, before you cook them, you cut those nails and everything so it looks better. You don’t want the nails in that

and then you will eat them. He say, Oh my God, this is really the lesson. Now, my understanding is that you started hearing about Cadillacs, Chevrolets, American movies, and then you got inspired to move to the, to the United States. Do you remember that moment when you thought, okay, I’m going to go to the United States of America?

No cowboy movies that we’ve watched. This movie is, I think if I pick caused changes in San Francisco, and that was amazing. And then the face a chef, I was working at Maxine, 10 pallets that they’re all at the beginning. I mean that’s just stop it there. And he’d left, came back from my teams, had to open an outpost in Chicago and he thought you should go to America. You make so much more money and it’s amazing. And they said that and he booked me into it. And then by accident, a year later a guy came to me and he needed this app and we had the same friends and he had a friend in Paris who was also my plan. But I have this young man who wants to go to America, let’s talk to him. And so that talks to me and I got all excited. And

so what was the first job that you landed in New York?

So my friend Shawn didn’t know. Yay. My friend bought me over to be a chef and his restaurant in your like they’ll have to a few different gross and stuff cause it’s tough to open a new one I think on 61st street and Madison. But at that time it was 70th street and Madison and I walked into the restaurant and I said, this is not the cooking I want to do. They have like the space or you know, like that they had uh, just simple business. You’re no good. This has maybe, but I cooked him three star restaurants, like my teams, whatever, but in Monaco and so forth. So I said, Nah, I don’t want to cook here. And then it friend of mine who won’t like really like the renew in New York at my zone. I went to see him, I knew him from Paris. I want to see him, maybe he had itself and he says, you know, I don’t know to a job right now, but let me call my Chicago. He called his friend in Chicago and they said, we need a chef in Indianapolis. And I said, [inaudible] my fill it out because I know of the 500 mile race they have every made

I want to go because Indianapolis, I lived in Monaco Monaco, they have a big art. The reason they said, oh that would be probably similar at the Monaco. So I took the Greyhound bus with the last time dollars I had left and took that’s from New York to Indianapolis, which took like I think a day and a half or something to get there. And I got there and I say, apple is nothing like


no more money. And I got the job as a chef in a French restaurant

inspired you to become a restaurant owner.

When I came from Indianapolis to La and I worked in a restaurant, my Amazon, my Amazon at that time, like $20,000 a month in business. I mean that goes in the 70s and little by little we went to 50,000 a year, leads up to a hundred thousand a month. That’s what the total revenue a month. And then we grew and grew and grew. But Patrick, who was their own events, trust me really still have to manage when he wasn’t there and everything. Even I was a part owner so they didn’t have the money to pay me, but he gave me like eight or 10% selves. The restaurant and you know, at that time was authentic, set up. Nothing really, because we didn’t make any money. Everything was on cod. Uh, you know, when I went to the fish market, I bought the lobster shells to make lots of soap and some famous restaurants.

He of course came the put the lobster meat to observe, count rubs cocktails. So we had no money. I became successful with the restaurant. People lost the food. It became one of the most talked about restaurants. I remember having awesome wells come every day for lunch. And I used to sit and talk to him, even Walter Little introduction for my cookbook. So we became very friendly with a lot of other people too. Like Billy Wilder, you know, they all stay in the movie director and writer and with Jack Lemmon and Suzanne play shed then you want. So they all used to come like two, three times a week to us, to Amazon. But Patrick didn’t really trust me. And then I said, you know, I have to do my own restaurant. I want to be in charge. I don’t want to have somebody for your race. I want to decide what I’m gonna Cook. Even a gift that they are anyway. But if I wanted more money, if I wanted to change the plates, anything like that, I had to ask him because he signed the check. I said, I will not bind the checks. I want to be the one in charge. And then in 1981 I found this space on sunset boulevard. And in 1982 in January 16 I open sparkle and the rest is history.

How did you first get the money

needed to open your restaurant and how did you market spargo

okay, so I had to cooking school and I had a lot of lawyers I had then and some strengths and was like, well this will come to my cooking classes because I made it up. They see patients, so they’re all the rocking drink and all of us had the case of wind up too. So I had like 18 people in my cocaine class and one day I announced that I wanna open my own restaurant, but I don’t have the money. So I drew up a business plan with the lawyer and said, okay, we’re going to get investors, we need $500,000 and hopefully we have to space on sunset boulevard and hopefully we can raise the money. So we raised the money, I went to the bank and uh, got, and I got a $60,000 and we put together then I think like 550,000. And then, uh, uh, I took the place, signed the lease and build the restaurant.

And the funny thing is when I left Amazon public, so you know, you will be back crying for your job. You know, you’re at a good job, but you’re leaving this and that. Well, I’m not coming back. And uh, as a matter of fact, so we open in general is powerful. It was a whole gray of the restaurant and new style of the restaurant. We did an open kitchen, we had a wood burning pizza old and it was burning. Now it seems like every restaurant has to happen. At that time it was nothing in la or in California

restaurant or any kind of business B and Wolfgang Puck just explained to you how his first restaurant was different than the other restaurants of its time. It had an open kitchen where nobody else did. It had, um, an open, a wood burning stove and nobody else did. It was just a different kind of restaurant. And if you’re out there in the, in this cluttered world of commerce and capitalism and you want to get in front of your ideal and likely buyers and be a successful, you’re going to have to be remarkable. But one of the byproducts of being remarkable is that nobody ever receives unanimous praise ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re the president of the United States, if you are the president of the United States and you are President Obama, nobody receives unanimous praise. Even President Obama who had a very high favoribility score at one point would only be improved by 58% of Americans, 57% of Americans, even President Ronald Reagan who is loved by Americans for awhile there, his approval rating isn’t going to go north of 60% 65% nobody receives unanimous praise ever and you cannot afford to die the death of a thousand compromises with your business.

You must absolutely fight for that purple cow that’s going to differentiate your business and make you stand out. Because if you are, if you are not memorable, you are forgettable in this cluttered world of commerce and capitalism. And now back to our interview with Wolfgang Puck,

we opened the restaurant and he became this immediate success, bigger than I ever saw it. I wanted to have a little neighborhood restaurant, but if they can be, and uh, uh, I think it was the hardest thing. Every morning I went to the fish market. I am today, I calm down in [inaudible], picking up stretches savers. So we yours really basic food and didn’t make it complicated, but which just use the best ingredients. I remember I had kept them up, let Johnny Carson, you know, we make these us at that time, so it’s a smoked salmon, pizza stack, sausage pizza and things like that. And Johnny, every Friday used to come and take them home. And I said, Oh, tell me what you’re doing with 10 feet such as a part. Is it? No, I put them in my face when I play cards with my friends. Uh, my housekeeper making a pizza and it’s just as good as yours is that, that’s not part us. And that’s actually how I stopped at my poles and pizza company because he’s at, he can, uh, uh, Cook them as was. So it ended up in another place.

So Johnny Carson is the inspiration for your frozen pizza collection. Yeah. I want to make sure we don’t skip over some powerful knowledge bombs that Wolfgang Puck is breaking down. One he talked about every morning he would go out and pick out fresh vegetables and fresh produce and fresh meat everyday. He would, he would pick out the freshest ingredients every day. And as you listen to this interview, think about how hard Wolfgang Puck was working at the time. You See, success is built as a result of daily diligence that is implemented over the design of a decade, over five years. It’s not about being diligent one time. It’s not about being highly motivated for one day or having that one big idea. It’s about being consistent. The diligence is the difference. Maker diligence means the steady application of effort and the diligent people always win. Now I want to tee up this particular portion of the interview.

I wanna make sure you’re, you’re, you’re not skipping over this part. He said that Johnny Carson and others would act, would basically buy pizzas from him and bring them home and put it in their freezers and then reheat him later and he noticed that people were doing this and then that became a product. You see products just solve problems for your ideal and likely buyers at a profit. Again, entrepreneurs, they sit, they simply entrepreneurs, business people, successful business entrepreneurs, all they’re doing is finding a problem that that is being experienced by many of their ideal and likely buyers and then they solve that problem at a profit. It is so important that you learn the process of finding a need and filling it in. Every entrepreneur I’ve ever met who’s super successful, they have this ability to see the problem that the customer is expressing or speaking about that nobody else really sees.

They seem to be able to see the problem that Johnny Carson had. Johnny Carson wanted to have Wolfgang puck’s frozen pizza, but the market didn’t. The product didn’t exist yet to fill that market need. And so Wolfgang, after he saw this, uh, Johnny Carson routinely buying his pizzas and freezing them, he realized, wow, that’s a problem that the market has and I’m going to fill it, I’m going to find a need and fill it. And that right there is why I’m so fired up about Wolfgang puck. Grab a pen and a pad and let’s get back into the lab as we interview Wolfgang Puck. Your life is, is a fascinating, uh, one and uh, I don’t expect you to do a bunch of research on me, but I did a bunch of research on you and um, I grew up poor. It sounds like you grew up with very humble beginnings. Um, I don’t know what it’s like to not be on my feet and to work 12 hours a day. I don’t understand that. I, I’ve never had a nine to five job where I take a break. You know, I started my first business when I was 16 and my parents basement, you know, I’ve been self employed for a long time. Um, can I ask you what, how many hours a week were you working when you launched spargo

I said, they asked me how many hours. I told him 12 hours is only half a day. Half a day is fine. People look at me and said, what are you talking about? I said, yeah, isn’t 12 hours half a day? It said, yeah. So I said, well, you can work half a day or you can look more, you know, obviously update them. And it was saying, so we or myself or sure never counted the hours, you know?

Can you, can you just for me, just for the benefit of our listeners about this, is that a half million people that just want to know, what time are you waking up when you’re launching spa? Would you waking up though?

I used at six 30 in the morning, so I woke up at six, six 30 in the morning. I used to go to the fish market downtown. Yeah, it got the fish and then uh, come back to the restaurant. You don’t baby by nine or so. We’ll have to coffee, maybe go home, take a shower. I didn’t lift of Fi way and then uh, went back talks with Mark [inaudible] who the chef and the pastry chef. What we going to do that day. We looked at the Tisch at board and everything and then rocks and fitness. The last customer maybe at midnight, midnight, 1230. And the Austin, I used to sit at the end of the uh, the dive and looking out the window. I said, I don’t know how I’m going to run this restaurant. You know, people want to come. I tell them, come at 10 30. They said, okay, we come at 10 30. So we were cooking from six. Like the service was some 600 days, twice, 1230 at night.


development that we’d take. It was really like crazy. I never saw it. We gonna grow up. Dad got up, he had to DC and I remember the second month we were open. We are positive. We made money

open seven days a week. But I’m just trying to help you here because this is what the listeners out there to know. It sounds like you’re working at least 18 hours a day, seven days a week, so you probably logged 126 hours a week. I think that’s a fair estimate. 100 so that is, uh, that is awesome. That is so encouraging for somebody out to who feels like, man, I’m working so hard. Uh, because now people look at you and say, wow, why don’t people don’t want to focus on the grind and the energy and the effort you put in all those years to build this thing. Can you, can you comment on there was, there was Japanese investors that reached out to you to open a Spotto in Tokyo, and if I, if I get the story correct, I think they said we would love to open up a spa gogo in a Tokyo. We’d love for you to help us, but if not, we’ll just open it on our own. Is that correct?


As you begin to scale your business, somebody is going to want to copy your business plan in your systems. Exactly. It’s going to happen. So just go ahead and emotionally prepare yourself.

People came and the cost, we got so much red, so fun. You know how old you your sensation and open kitchen. Nobody had the right table cloth restaurants with the kitchen open ended was I could see at that stage everything. So then they came over and they wanted to do a restaurant and that’s no, forget it. I tell he came on one lesson, how can I lessen the West on in Tokyo so that 10 back to maybe three or four months later and with the plans that the kitchen layout exactly what I had at definitely saying it’s a matter of fact. It was funny because spot it was up the hill a little bit on from sunset. They found this thing on the second floor of a little building that you have to go up some steps and they lined the kitchen up with the pizza over and with a prospect called covered everything. They post station exactly like I had it. They took pictures of the new rep to get the jazz record. Forget everything.

You weren’t an entrepreneur. I’m telling you,

trust nobody do. You have so many competitors out there that are looking just to copy your stuff. They’re going to want to copy all your business cards, your print pieces, your strategies, your processes, every checklist. People are going to want to copy it. So once you begin to nail down your business model and the systems that work, now you want to look at copywriting and trademarking the things you’ve worked so hard to build and test in this marketplace. Again, get out there, try to sell it, get it in front of the marketplace, get the, don’t listen to what people say about your product, but look at, look at whether people buy your product. You know, don’t, don’t sit there and run your product idea by a bunch of your good buddies and they all say, yeah, I’m, I’m gonna, I’m definitely going to buy it.

Go out there and actually market the product and see how many people buy the product. And then when people don’t buy the product, ask them what you could do to improve that product or service or restaurant or business. And then once you get that business model refined, that product refined, once you create something that the world likes and the world wants to buy, it is absolutely vital as soon as possible. Once you nail it down and before you scale it, that you take the time to trademark and copyright the core aspects of your business model that make it unique.

So I said, okay, let’s open it with me. So they gave me one set of the business and then we went and the offsite, 80th sitting in April, we’ll open spot going Tokyo, which was a trip and a pastry chef with me, and that’s okay, that’s me and manage that with Mimi. And they order stayed there. I sit them maybe two weeks. And it was, it was an experience for me, I must say. I never saw it that a year I got opened my second restaurant, so five ways. And then six months later in September, I opened a restaurant in Santa Monica, which was my verse, luck in Chinese restaurant. And that came like by accident. So somebody owns building and they said, oh, well can we want to go in Sunday morning? It’s 12 miles from the original fiber. And I said, no, no, I don’t want to do another five or it’s too boring.

The same thing and this is what you want to do. I said, I want to do it. So then, uh, the guy said, okay, whatever you do, I’m sure it would be good. So we opened this a Chinese restaurant, but I didn’t know where. Like I’m years old, I’ve never cooked, I never cooked in a walk. So I said, okay, I want to do my style of Chinese food. And it’s really became the sensation. And even yesterday we celebrated that, you know, a group of Chinese people who came from China and ate the food. And the first thing that sentence said, you know, we never had Chinese new year. We never had the menu like that in Beijing develop from Beijing. They said, we gonna come now for every Chinese New Year celebration you have. So even the Chinese said, you know what? This is really inside. Now, some local Chinese restaurant didn’t like it because we are flat. You got to wait. Two weeks had a fine and Dell I talk with maybe half empty and it was different. That’s a Caucasian cooking Chinese food. How can that happen? I’m comfortable with it

gets this idea today, Seth Godin, author of the purple cow, transform your business by being remarkable rights. If the remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out. Wolfgang was out there in the marketplace generating a buzz. He’s out there creating Chinese food, but yet he’s a Caucasian guy and you know what happened? Certain people got upset with him and you know what’s going to happen to you. Certain people are going to get upset with you because if you are remarkable, somebody won’t like it. Just read my iTunes reviews to see, nobody ever receives unanimous praise. It doesn’t matter how hard I work on this podcast. It doesn’t matter how hard you work on your business. It doesn’t matter what I say on this show or what I don’t say on the shelf. It doesn’t matter what you do in your business or what you don’t do. Even if you do everything perfectly to the absolute best of your ability, you will receive criticism. Because the best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out. You know, you, you don’t look Chinese to me. Do you have any Chinese ancestry at all? They’re Wolfgang cause you make some incredible Chinese food.

No, but you know, you’re looking at America. That’s Amanda. If you are, uh, Africa or England or wherever you are, you can cook great food as food and as long as fashion.

No, we interviewed recently a man by the name of ship Gordon, a man who I know, you know very well. Um, could you talk to me about your relationship with ship and the role he played in helping you to become the celebrity chef that you are today?

Well, I met, I know Shep Gordon watching Atlanta Moby and see what’s in the record and all these guys and we became very friendly because he likes food. You know, I became friends with anybody who likes like no dumbass. Awesome. Well I’ll call stuff and it’s the one time he came to us, we did the whole thing in Hawaii. I think it was going to pick, I’m end up pop. I like, Hey chef, uh, you know what for the pound deal. So we had different chefs from all over the country a little bit like for lunch man, I dunno, maybe a few more. And we were like, the main thing is so then when it was over, then the next day we were all sitting, there are fault lines and I had my set from PCR. Mitch wasn’t or make your lunch for us. And then they do. If I said, Bill, you know I was still alive because we have some salads, but instead make the food.

And then they gave us the bill and he said, what? What is wrong with this picture yet? You guys work here? He said, we take pay you. I said, no, a free and pays for the trip. He said, you have to pick every customer and not even talk to you. So he said, you guys have an h? And I said, no. And he said, maybe we have to get an insulin it better. So I called my friends. I called ball and Alice and Jonathan and I don’t know how many, we have maybe eight or 10 chefs, mark, middle and life or Joni. And so then we all sat together. I never saw in San Francisco and decided he should become our agent. Now at that time I started to get really busy already. So what that Shep really did a lot but been fairing. I was so busy already because I don’t all these restaurants already.

If I can, you know that this consultant for an airline, I did consulting for a Manson in Dallas or the Hannah went on the news and so I didn’t need really chuffed to do work for me because I couldn’t go and cook in New Orleans or in Dallas or whatever and get $5,000 a day at that time for us was a lot of money. But he has a loss or these other guys who did not have the experience. Like I did the Johnny Carson Show and David Letterman show and good morning America from 86 on. So I was already on TV at that time. Did they have no set really what’s on TV as much as I bars, but you know, he helped a lot of other sets and we did a great job. But we are still great friends. No. Did he influence my cousin? Yeah, we did y and what was really positive and said, don’t sell yourself cheap. So jobs are enough money.

Your name, your brand is synonymous with a cuisine with gourmet, with a celebrity

chef. Why have you decided to put your name on all of your products? A lot of people, you know, uh, uh, pull back from that. Why have you decided to put your name on all of the products?

As friend of mine told me, okay, uh, we don’t have any good soup. Campbell’s soup and aggressive, but yeah, not really quiet. Why don’t you device recipes and make so, so we went then and made that it really delicious soup, just like we made it in the restaurant now we had to put them in cans too, but at least they ingredients we have good like at that time when you that like my French onion soup when Delphi jogging and some of the other companies, it was like so that it is successful to them. So I was always interested in different things. So then I remember Lou Wasserman, universal city walls and says, this Bible up there, you know, we really need a restaurant. I said, you know, city of Oak is a, is the idea people, I’m going to spend that time. They come and this is a universal films.

So that’s when I started the first cafe updates like that in airports around the world and places like that. So I think for me, and that’s something new, I really love it. And yes, later in the nineties, I was friendly with George Foreman and foreman and a friend of mine make up this care, which became my Sensei, really fully successful. And then the guy who looks at me and said, well, why you don’t do something like that? I said, well, you know, and then we’ve started to make pots and pans. We tried to sell them on Qvc. I didn’t know how to sell them or whether Webinar one, uh, I think it’s unsafe and whatever. So then we sold them off at HSN and then I talked with the people at HSN and we made it cheap averse. That’s still good quality, but not as expensive, not this big.

They, I run the numbers and so then that became a really good business all of a sudden. So I stayed with it and I’m still good up or over. So why, why do I do it myself to do all that stuff? You yes ago. There was some on about things and then they ask you do or the saints and what is Your Green Book? And I said, my dream would be to go to Harvard. I never went to high school, never went to college or anything. All right, so he, not a few days later, the dean of Harvard Business School calls and says, well, can I have the perfect thing for you? It’s called OPM owner, president management. It’s about three months long, not in one course. It’s eight times a month. I to do that. We feel really one to go with that. It’s really you’re doing no, what did I do? I am the oldest habit, so I have one more month go. So in March, end of March, I got to graduate.



Who would have known then that village in Australia, you know, whether the school had two rooms, only classrooms and now I’ve gone to, I went to Howard. You know, it’s like, it’s like the green stuff. That’s really true. That’s funny. That’s what he was really into my tio yachts sippy. I said, I’m interested in so many different things. I’m still, yes, it’s so many different things, so that’s why I do so many sentence yelling at my wife. That was when you put up why you don’t relax, don’t do all that stuff. I said, but I liked it.

What friends do you see? Wolfgang Puck isn’t in a rush to retire because he loves what he does and I’ll never forget. Years ago I was reading a book called life and death. It’s written by Russell Simmons and a Russell Simmons is the legendary founder of the ledger, legendary cofounder of a company called Def Jam. They introduced the world to the Beastie boys to ll cool J to Jay z and other massive hip hop artists. See essentially is known as like the father of hip hop. He also launched the def comedy jam and the, he was the founder of the phat farm clothing and apparel line, but he says the goal is to be able to live your life the way that Michael Jordan played basketball or Marvin Gaye. Sing a song to be able to feel the way you feel when you laugh. At a joke, but to feel that way all the time.

Wow. What would it be like if you could build a business that would allow you the time, freedom and financial freedom to do whatever you wanted to do on a daily basis to pursue your goals for your faith, your family, your finances, your fitness, your friendships, and your fun? Well, what would it be like if you could do that? Because once you get to a place in life where every day is a perfect day, there’s been perfectly designed by you. It is so exciting. Yeah, there will be some interruptions and a few frustrations along the way, but that is infinitely exciting for me and I can honestly tell you that’s what I love about doing the show is because I know that every time I interview these guests, this is what the Lord wants me to do. I’m doing what I’m called to do. I’m helping great people like you and I know that you’re going to find that business model that’s going to create that time and financial freedom for you as well. Now back to our interview with Wolfgang Puck. Well you look like you’re probably, you know, 34 now if I, if I had to guess, you probably know that organic stuff your mom taught you about as a kid. That’s probably what’s going on right there. I want to ask you this because there’s so many listeners that are just infinitely curious about this. How do you organize the first four hours of your day and what time do you typically wake up?

I get up in the morning. I wake up my son Oliver, and then we’ll come and with me in the morning or sometimes he doesn’t exercise. When he does come, he has to go to school or whatever he goes to is five minutes away. So it makes it really easy. So then after that, you know, I took his sallow get the red me and then I look what are my appointments for today? You know, so, and then, uh, by nine o’clock I leave the house and I go off sparkle or to the Bel Air Hotel. Look what’s going on there. Now I might go in the morning right after sex outside of his, uh, seven 30, I go to the farmer’s market. Sometimes I go downtown or to the fish market still, I don’t pay it, but I liked it. So then at 12 o’clock, 10 only I go to back hope because we have for lunch, they have lunch, but then two hours there.

Then I come here to my office and look all the things I have to do and plan new restaurants and all that stuff. And then at six, at six o’clock, at four, four 30, I go and play tennis for an hour. And if I, especially if I’m stressed about something good because I can hit the ball is how does I, well, so yeah. So then I go through that and then six 37 I have dinner with my wife, my two boys, Alexander and like no bio and also, you know, so the chef and then I started to, and then I go back to the restaurant maybe for two hours, like last night. And I sat with equipment or one like it tries. We stepped off the 40 rams and talk. He talked about the super bowl and walked through the kitchen itself through chef right now, 11 o’clock I don’t have

11 o’clock last night. Yeah. Now you are a guy who, and you’re involved in a lot of things. You got your own brands of, of food. You have books you’ve written, you have restaurants, you, you’re running. How many different businesses, and maybe you don’t even know the exact answer, but how many different businesses are you involved in right now? Or, or, or different locations? How many different businesses?

Okay, so make it simpler for you. So I’d have to see division in my business. One is towards fine dining. You know, we have all the rest. We have 27 restaurants around the world. Las Vegas, Dallas, Dallas, Watson, done Orlando take up by rain, cut down, so forth my own. So we have 27 of them. I am too more in the building and born. It wasn’t. Then we see a, and then one in uh, uh, Los Angeles at the food service. So they’ll go right now. And then the most exciting class you’re working with [inaudible] to open a restaurant on the beach here in La. So that’s gonna be a big project, but it’s a few years away.

No. I want to ask you two final questions for you. You have this restaurant in, in New York that you’ve launched. Tell us about this newest venture in, in what it’s like and while the listener should go check it out.

Yes. No, you know what, the captain is off at the four season. What’s out of bounds. Bounds is, it is a steak restaurant, but we put a lot of different options. If you’re a Vegan, you can’t go there and have the most exciting big and me like I was there and I hit, this is salt though with celery at black trapper. I said, you know what, I don’t need meat like that. But you also have [inaudible], which is my favorite fish. Uh, we also have black flats, which is great and lobster. And then we have meets from all over a little bit. Also a lot of the local ingredients, you know, we use local, deep and local lamb from New York state actually, and from Pennsylvania we get the backend so I can, so it’s really locally oriented and it was designed by sucked up CEO who is really an amazing sign, us who can come to the bar and have little snacks, et Cetera, from the mini burgers too as takes up.

So, or some Asian influence dishes. And uh, like all we have this kid’s like, here’s how this gets Aviad spot. I can, if that’s all you’re looking at, a rough way to advertise very raw fish dishes and things like that. Salads. And then if you love steak, like one of my favorite one is the capital of New York steak cooked on the bone. And uh, I cook it like medium Maria and cooks it bone really wasn’t. So it gets really hot inside too. And then I’ll keep it simple, you know, put a little sea salt on top and maybe a little salt, how much French fries, because I’m not French fries and onion rings.

But they set up there and he put his, sir, I did not buy one off the grade legends in the marriage. I, it’s all these different phonies. If he’s a, if he comes by or key lime by or a nun obtain five or a raspberry or blackberry, blueberry fine. So I’m bringing this whole new idea of modernize it and print it out so people can ethic great steak and maybe a blueberry by with some blueberry ice cream for this piece. I’m fine. So for me it’s really exciting. The beam and the old school dishes and make them new again.

If you’ve got two cats, I think you can come to the bar, just hang out at the bar, has the green said to have some boss knocks. What’s really good in joystick one, like right now we have a great salad and the roommates a cheese sandwich with lux refers and you know what people say, I just going to hit it then have it that has a glass or two glasses of red wine and uh, uh, that’s know, you know, if straight black all one top posts, we make it without the trackless. But I think it’s really simple and really, really tasty.

Yeah. For listeners out there, they’re taking notes. Where’s this located again? You said it’s in the four seasons. Okay.

In the fourth season I’ve kind of downtown on street.

Okay. Okay. Now my final question for you listeners out there who won’t get a chance to talk to you one on one. If you’re sitting down there with a young entrepreneur today and they’re asking you for Wolfgang, what’s the one piece of advice? What’s the one, if you could give me just one piece of the golden keys to the universe. Talk to me. What, what, what, what, what’s the advice you would give all the entrepreneurs out there?

Well, I really believe if you are passionate about what you do, if it’s in the food business, in the tech business, I think you’ll have to follow your dreams and don’t take no fine and cell death. So many naysayers out there, I would say that you won’t be successful. And like when I told people, you know, uh, city eight years ago that I got to make beats and it headphones can y’all crazy, nobody gonna come to your restaurant and eat pizza, you know? And then we invented the new style of pizza and it became all the rage and the bond up hundreds restaurants, they make different features. So don’t take no for an answer. PETCO. So Pete patient, you know, a lot of people think success is overnight success. It’s like walking up steps, uh, into a big building. You know, it’s one step at, at time. And I think that’s really important. But I tell all the young chefs especially to to be patient, go to work in the restaurant, make the mistakes their loan down. And then if you’re writing, you’re say, okay, I know cooking. It’s an important part of the restaurant business, but you have to manage a lot of people. You know you won’t have to make money because if not, you won’t stay in business. So it’s a lot of components, you know, to run a restaurant or any business.

Well, hopefully this is not the worst interview you’ve ever been on. I thank you so much my friend.

Never, never, never. You know what I really think for me, if I can inspire some young people and tell them, you know what? I started with nothing. I had not that penny left when I went to Indianapolis. I had to spend in the, I couldn’t check out. I had no money to pay for it. But I think at the end of the day, if you work hard and you think for yourself, four hours is only half a day, I guarantee. Or if your patient, you passion, you will be successful.

Both gangs. Thank you so much and I hope you have a great rest of your evening

saying, I know I’m getting ready for the Oscars almost.

Oh Wow. Well you take care, sir.

Okay, thank you. Thank you so much.

All right, so if you’ve been listening to today’s show, there’s a lot you can unpack. There’s a lot of specific steps that Wolfgang, uh, taught. But I just want to kind of recap. A few of the knowledge bombs did. I think that every listener out there should be very aware of one Wolfgang puck was willing to work seven days a week to make his dreams happen. I’m not saying you should work seven days a week, but I think you should ask the question to yourself rhetorically, how many hours per week am I actually willing to work to turn my goals and dreams into reality? Because Wolfgang Puck was willing to work seven days a week. Maybe you want to work five days a week or six days a week, but you have to be intellectually honest about what you’re asking for. If you want to be great, you’ve got to be willing to invest great amounts of hours.

And if you want to be average, you got to put an average amount of hours and that’s just what’s required to be successful. Second teaching point. Ah, Wolfgang puck talked about this. He said that he went out there and borrowed a, he raised money. He raised over half a million dollars of investment capital to start his first restaurant after he’d been working for years for other people. And I would ask you this, what’s your risk tolerance? Are you willing to raise a half million dollars to start something you believe in or maybe $10,000 or 20,000 or $100,000? But you’ve got to be very self aware about your risk tolerance and how much money you’re willing to bet on your big idea a knowledge bomb. Number three, action item number three that I heard during today’s show is wolf gang created a purple cow when Wolfgang created his first restaurant. Spargo he created a business that was very different from any other business.

It was the only restaurant that he knew of with an open kitchen in a wood fired oven. It was the first restaurant that did a lot of things differently than everybody else, and that’s why he stood out. Uh, when he started his first Asian restaurant, he was a Caucasian guys starting an Asian restaurant. Again, these are purple cows. These are remarkable ideas. And that is why his business is stood out and the cluttered world of commerce in capitalism. So I want you to ask yourself today, what are your goals for your faith, your family, your finances, your fitness, your friendship, and your fun? What are your goals for your faith, family, finances, fitness, friendship, and fun? And what are you willing to give up in order to achieve those goals? And if you enjoyed today’s show, I would encourage you to share today’s show with a friend or a family member. You’re listening to the thrive time show on your radio and podcasts, download. And therefore we in each and every show with the boom, because we believe that the big, overwhelming optimistic momentum that Wolfgang puck brought to his business on a daily basis is what you need to succeed. And so now that he further ado three, two, one, boom.


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