Wolfgang Puck Reveals Biggest Inspiration For Becoming A Chef - Exclusive

Many chefs are drawn to their chosen field through a spark of inspiration. Whether it is investing time in preserving their culture, a love of their family traditions, or something else, many chefs consider food and cooking an integral part of their lives. That's why, during an exclusive interview with Mashed, ahead of the new Disney+ documentary "Wolfgang," we asked the legendary Wolfgang Puck what really drives his work.

From a very early age, Puck loved everything about food and the tradition of spending time together at the table. "I love cultures where they bring the family together, like having a Shabbat dinner on Friday night or having Sunday lunch," Puck said. The chef considers the time spent gathered around a table, enjoying food, wine, and conversation about life to be really important. Despite difficulties during childhood, he found joy in family dinners. "The positive thing I remember was dinners like the wiener schnitzel and all these things my mother used to cook for me. And when I think of that, I had a lucky childhood," Puck said.

Working with his mom sparked Puck's interest in cooking

Though eating together and spending time at the dinner table as a family was very important to Wolfgang Puck from an early age, it wasn't until he started working in the kitchen himself that his love of the craft became clear. "When my mother was a professional cook in a resort hotel in the summer, we'd both stay in Hotel Linde. Every summer I used to go there and help her in the kitchen. Or help the pastry chef in the kitchen," Puck said. Helping out and getting to have hands-on experience really developed his love of being a chef.

However, there was a bit of incentive that might have been even sweeter than working alongside his mom. "For me, it was a lot of fun, but mainly they gave me ice cream. They gave me the end cut of the cake and that was amazing for me. So that was work even though they didn't pay me," Puck recalled. Sometimes, it would be raining for days on end, and young Wolfgang Puck couldn't play outside the hotel. "So I played in the kitchen," Puck added. Clearly, all of those days in the kitchen learning to love the tactile business certainly paid off.

To learn more about Wolfgang Puck's early life and beyond, you can stream "Wolfgang" on Disney+ now.