Tribeca Film Festival: Wolfgang and his Rise to Fame

Wolfgang gives fans a look into the life of the first celebrity chef and the challenges he faced and overcame on his rise to fame.

Whether it’s Diat or Loiseau, the stories of mothers and grandmothers passing on their recipes to their families play a huge role in the renowned chefs’ lives. Wolfgang Puck is no different. The way his mother taught him to make schnitzel is now being massed on to his children, especially his son Byron, who plans on following in his father’s footsteps.

The documentary follows the life of Wolfgang Puck from his early years in Austria to today to give audiences a look into a boy who refused to go home to his stepfather to a household name.

“This film is an origin story that almost feels like a traditional Disney film,” Director David Gelb says. “Just like Remy’s dad in “Ratatouille,” Wolfgang’s stepfather discouraged him from becoming a chef. This tale follows a kid from Austria, how he makes it in Hollywood, and then completely changes the way we look at food and chefs. I hope that kids see that you can follow a dream and succeed if you take risks guided by the compass of your passion.”

It also highlights what Puck missed as well. While following your passion and dreams is important in life. Don’t forget those that support you and love you. Seeing the strain that his success brought to his family is a reminder to step back and rethink your priorities.

One of the things I found refreshing about Wolfgang is that it doesn’t hold back on those moments. When Puck started appearing on Good Morning America, his agent at the time, Michael Ovitz, had everyone he knew calling into the station to give rave reviews to keep him coming back for appearances.

When I think of Wolfgang Puck now, I think of his delicious soups from the store and his Wolfgang Puck Catering at the Georgia Aquarium, which I’ve sampled during special events alongside the fish and whales.

Wolfgang is a great documentary to watch with the family. It premieres on Disney+ on June 25.


About Wolfgang

As a teenager in Austria, Wolfgang Puck harnessed his love of cooking to escape the harsh rule of his stepfather. A local apprenticeship forged his path to train at a revered French restaurant before landing in America at age 24. In 70s Hollywood, Puck began working at Ma Maison, crafting an original menu around fresh ingredients, making the once-tacky eatery a popular, acclaimed darling. Still, the lack of acknowledgment from Ma Maison’s owner pushed Puck to take the biggest risk of his career and open his first restaurant, Spago, an instant hit where famous clientele dote equally on Puck’s new American cuisine and personality. Almost by accident, Puck created the concept of a “celebrity chef” with his decades-spanning television appearances, building a staggering global empire of restaurants, cafes, and products for home cooks. But at home, the frenetic professional demands disrupted his family life. From director David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), and the creators of Chef’s Table, WOLFGANG is a candid, inspiring, and emotional documentary that follows a legend as he reckons with the price of his dreams.

Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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