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Spice! with Wolfgang Puck
Spice! with Wolfgang Puck
JCCC Foundation presents Spice! with Wolfgang Puck on Aug. 25
Celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck is at the heart of a dinner sponsored by the Johnson County Community College Foundation on Aug. 25 in the Regnier Center at JCCC. A VIP reception will take place at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
The event is held in honor of the late chef Marc Valiani, who spent many years with Puck as well as with Kansas City’s restaurants. It will benefit JCCC Chef’s Apprenticeship Scholarship, the new JCCC Hospitality and Culinary Academy that will be built on the college campus, and the Marc Valiani Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.
The evening includes a five-course dinner with a menu selected by Puck and prepared by JCCC culinary students under the direction of chefs from Puck’s restaurants. A selection of Puck’s wines will be served with each course. The dinner will be served in the same style that Puck used for the Governor’s Ball that took place in conjunction with the Academy Awards® in 2012, complete with action stations. Participants will be able to interact with Puck, the chefs and the students.
To attend the dinner, participants may become Master Chef Sponsors, purchasing two tables of eight and invitations to the VIP reception for $25,000; Executive Chef Table Sponsors, purchasing one table of eight and invitations to the VIP reception for $5,000; or Sous Chef Table Patrons, purchasing one table of eight for $2,500. Individual tickets are not available at this time.
For more information, email Kate Allen, executive director, JCCC Foundation, or call her at 913-469-2712, or Roseanne Becker, program director, JCCC Foundation, 913-469-2718. See more information on the sponsorship levels.
Marc Valiani was a graduate of the George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario. His last position was as executive chef of the Culinary Innovation Center for Frito Lay International in Dallas. He made his way to Texas via Kansas City, where he oversaw nine fine dining restaurants as the corporate chef for PB&J Restaurants.
Before that, he spent 15 years on the West Coast. In San Francisco he owned Jianna restaurant. He spent eight years in Los Angeles, first with the Hotel Bel Air and then with Wolfgang Puck, who recruited him to become executive sous chef at Puck’s new Los Angeles restaurant, Eureka. After one year there, Puck moved Valiani into the chef’s position at Spago. For 10 years Puck invited him to be a guest chef for his bi-annual Five Star Sensation.
Valiani passed away from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) on May 1, 2011.
The name Wolfgang Puck is synonymous with the best of restaurant hospitality and the ultimate in all aspects of the culinary arts. The famous chef has built an empire that encompasses three separate Wolfgang Puck entities: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.
Puck began cooking at his mother's side as a child. She was a chef in the Austrian town where he was born, and with her encouragement, Puck began his formal training at 14 years of age. As a young chef he worked in some of France's greatest restaurants, including Maxim's in Paris, the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, and the Michelin 3-starred L'Oustau de Baumanière in Provence. At the age of 24, Puck took the advice of a friend and left Europe for the United States. His first job was at the restaurant La Tour in Indianapolis, where he worked from 1973 to 1975.
Puck came to Los Angeles in 1975 and very quickly garnered the attention of the Hollywood elite as chef and eventually part owner of Ma Maison in West Hollywood. His dynamic personality and culinary brilliance that bridged tradition and invention made Ma Maison a magnet for the rich and famous, with Puck as the star attraction. He had an innate understanding of the potential for California cuisine and was pivotal in its rise to national attention during the late 1970s.
From Ma Maison, Puck went on to create his first flagship restaurant, Spago, originally located in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. From its opening day in 1982, Spago was an instant success and culinary phenomenon. Puck and Spago earned many accolades during its popular 18 years in West Hollywood, including winning the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year twice, in 1991 and 1998, and the James Beard Foundation Award for Restaurant of the Year in 1994. Puck is the only chef to have won the Outstanding Chef of the Year Award two times.
In 1983, following the success of Spago, Puck went on to open Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. His early exposure to Southern California's multicultural population intrigued him, inspiring him to fuse the Asian flavors and products of Koreatown, Chinatown, and Thaitown with his French- and California-based cuisine in a fine dining setting. Chinois on Main brought diners a fresh and imaginative Asian-fusion menu that laid the groundwork for fusion cooking in America.
In 1989, Puck opened his third restaurant, Postrio, in the Prescott Hotel off San Francisco's Union Square. Postrio also draws upon the multi-ethnic nature of its surroundings. Its contemporary American cuisine, with its emphasis on local ingredients, continues to draw rave reviews in Northern California's highly competitive culinary market.
In 1997, Puck moved Spago to an elegant setting on Cañon Drive in Beverly Hills. His Beverly Hills menu blazed new ground, with a combination of updated Spago classics and newly conceived items created by the award-winning talents of Managing Partner/Executive Chef Lee Hefter and Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard. Spago Beverly Hills recently garnered two coveted Michelin Stars, one of only three Los Angeles restaurants to achieve this accolade.