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Wolfgang Puck Catering Hit with Lawsuit and More News

Wolfgang Puck Catering Hit with Lawsuit and More News

In today's Media Mix, Amy's Baking Company continues its rant, plus herbal aphrodisiacs for the long weekend

The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.

Wolfgang Puck Lawsuit: Two former bartenders are suing Puck's catering service, saying they never saw the money from a 20 percent service charge and weren't paid overtime. [NYDN]

Amy's Baking Company Drama: More from the crazy restaurateurs at Kitchen Nightmare's Amy's Baking Company: Apparently, the Kitchen Nightmares staff were all "evil Yelpers," and since then the couple has received death threats to their cat. [Eater]

Herbal Aphrodisiacs: It's almost a long weekend, so here are some edible aphrodisiacs for some sexytime. [HuffPo]

McRib Remake: A restaurant in Los Angeles is remaking Wendy's Baconator, Bob's Big Boy, the McRib, and more. [LAist]

Map to Show What We're Eating: Researchers are working to compile data into a giant map to show what Americans are eating and where. [NPR]

The Untold Truth Of Wolfgang Puck's Frozen Pizzas

Wolfgang Puck is a name that has long been associated with California cuisine — and with pizza. The Austria-born chef famously built a Los Angeles-area empire from the mid-'70s, starting with Spago, where he served up "haute cuisine" pizzas (think smoked salmon and caviar toppings) to the cream of Tinseltown society (via Wolfgang Puck). The pizzas may have been honed by Spago's original pizza chef, Ed LaDou (via Eater), but Puck's connection with high-end pies was firmly established.

Of course, Puck would grow far beyond a single restaurant — today, his brand spans three companies. Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group oversees elite restaurants worldwide, while Wolfgang Puck Catering tackles luxury events. But Wolfgang Puck Worldwide might be considered the branch of the people, in charge of the chef's more-accessible casual dining venues and his slew of side ventures, from cookbooks and homewares sold on the Home Shopping Network to packaged foods like canned soup and coffee.

For a long time, frozen pizza also graced that list. Years later, in 2018, Puck would tell Forbes about his frozen pizza foray, "It was hard at the beginning . [But] it was an interesting way of starting a new business."

Businesses Thought They Were Covered for the Pandemic. Insurers Say No.

The N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets and restaurants like Chez Panisse are among those suing their insurers for refusing to pay “business interruption” claims during the coronavirus outbreak.

When the Great Lockdown started in Michigan, Nick Gavrilides closed the dining room of his Soup Spoon Cafe in Lansing, had some farewell beers with his workers and set to work on an insurance claim.

He had paid for business interruption insurance, a type of coverage that replaces a portion of a firm’s lost revenue when a disaster forces it to suspend operations, and was expecting his carrier, Michigan Insurance Company, to cover at least some of his losses. He didn’t get a cent.

“At first I thought, OK, we’re toast, this is it,” Mr. Gavrilides said. Then he sued.

Since the pandemic hit the United States this year, thousands of business owners like Mr. Gavrilides have discovered that the business interruption policies they bought, and have been paying thousands of dollars in annual premiums to sustain, won’t pay them a thing — just as they are struggling through the biggest business interruption in modern memory.

Now, many of them — from proprietors of gyms and dental practices to high-profile restaurateurs including the Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, the owner of Cheers in Boston and even a National Basketball Association team — are taking their insurers to court, hoping to force them to cover some of the financial carnage. So far, more than 400 business interruption lawsuits have been filed, according to insurance lawyers.

“I think business interruption claims should be paid when business is interrupted,” Mr. Gavrilides said.

Insurance companies don’t see it that way. Most business interruption policies include highly specific language stating that for a claim to be paid out, there has to be “direct physical damage” — say, a flood that washes away a building or a fire that burns down inventory, forcing a business closure.

On top of that, after SARS swept through Asia nearly two decades ago and caused widespread economic damage, many insurers began to write in language that excluded business interruption caused by viral epidemics. For instance, Mr. Gavrilides’s policy states that the insurer “will not pay for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium, illness or disease.”

Insurers say they aren’t being stingy they simply don’t have enough capital to cover all coronavirus-related claims and would suffer enormous losses if they had to pay out.

The industry’s position hasn’t deterred business owners. Some plaintiffs are arguing that the pandemic calls for new interpretations of what “direct physical damage” means for their business. Others are highlighting the spillover effects of closures on local economies.

When the governor of Louisiana banned gatherings of more than 250 people in March, John W. Houghtaling II, a New Orleans lawyer and veteran of the insurance wars that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, didn’t wait for his client’s insurance claim to be denied before suing. Mr. Houghtaling represents Oceana Grill, a 500-seat restaurant that is insured by an underwriting group with Lloyd’s of London, the insurance marketplace.

“We have reason to believe that Lloyd’s took premiums without the intention of providing the indemnity paid for,” he said.

The lawsuit seeks court affirmation that the insurer must cover Oceana Grill’s lost revenue because the restaurant paid for a policy that covers risks from all pathogens except those introduced through “terrorism or malicious use.” It also argues that the coronavirus contaminates surfaces that can be difficult to clean in New Orleans’s hot, muggy climate, causing “real physical loss and damage.” The city’s mayor, LaToya Cantrell, cited the virus’s propensity to cause such property damage in an emergency proclamation the day the lawsuit was filed.

Lloyd’s has argued that Oceana Grill’s claims are premature and hypothetical. A spokesman declined to comment beyond the court filings. A hearing on whether to dismiss the lawsuit is scheduled for Aug. 20.

Mr. Houghtaling, along with big-name restaurateurs such as Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, formed the Business Interruption Group in April to push the insurance industry to pay claims. To draw attention to the matter, the group has advertised on billboards in Times Square and is supporting legislation that would allow insurers that paid business-interruption claims, regardless of policy language to the contrary, to receive reimbursements from the federal government.

But so far, it’s not looking good for the plaintiffs.

On July 1, a county circuit judge threw out Mr. Gavrilides’s case, one of the first to be decided anywhere. Judge Joyce Draganchuk, ruling from the bench in a Zoom hearing, said that for coverage, there had to be tangible damage, something “that alters the physical integrity of the property.”

Both the Soup Spoon Cafe and the Bistro, another restaurant Mr. Gavrilides owns in Ingham County, Mich., were in mint condition, so they didn’t qualify. The judge left little ambiguity, repeating the basis of her decision several times, and said there was no point in filing an amended complaint.

Mr. Gavrilides’s lawyer, Matthew J. Heos, said he has filed an appeal. In the meantime, Mr. Gavrilides, who pays an annual premium of $12,002 for his policy, is staying afloat with a loan from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Dozens of minor-league baseball teams have sued Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company and others, saying the cancellation of their season qualifies them for business-interruption payments. Minor-league teams normally get their players from Major League Baseball, but none materialized this year. Some lease their stadiums from the cities they play in, and, with no revenue, they can’t make their lease payments. That, in turn, could threaten municipal bond payments and even the urban renewal plans that rely on minor-league baseball in some places.

A spokesman for Philadelphia Indemnity, Bill Procopio, said the company could not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuits are now pending in three federal courts.

The N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets have sued Affiliated FM Insurance Company in a state court in Rhode Island, where the insurer’s parent, FM Global Group, is based. The N.B.A. cut short its season this year, but the Rockets were hit especially hard when Houston emerged as a Covid-19 hot spot. The Toyota Center, where the Rockets play, is a co-plaintiff, having had to cancel rodeos, concerts, a barbecue cook-off and other events as well as basketball. The lawsuit said the loss of the arena was itself a form of “physical damage.”

“The property has been impaired,” it said. “The loss of functionality is no less physical than the impact of a property having lost its roof to a tornado or hurricane.” A spokesman for FM Global, Steven Zenofsky, said the company could not comment on the legal dispute, which remains pending.

Many insurance executives argue that pandemics are uninsurable. At its most basic, insurance involves the efficient pooling of risks, so that everybody in a pool pays premiums but only a few have claims. That way, the many who have no losses can subsidize the few who do. That principle can’t work in a sweeping pandemic shutdown, where virtually everybody has a loss.

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association has estimated that if insurers were required to cover all U.S. business interruption losses tied to the shutdowns, regardless of policy exclusions — something proposed by lawmakers in some states — it would cost $1 trillion a month.

The insurance industry could buckle under the strain of having to pay for even a portion of that amount, said Sean Kevelighan of the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit industry group. “Only the government has the capacity to provide relief to businesses” in a pandemic, Mr. Kevelighan added.

There are already proposals for federal involvement in future pandemics. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat of New York, has introduced legislation that would create a federal pandemic reinsurance program, modeled after the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which she sponsored after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Reinsurance is widely used by insurers to keep their exposure to risks from growing too large or concentrated the insurers pay reinsurers to take over the payment of some of their expected claims. But losses from terrorism or pandemics are too big for existing reinsurance companies to take on, which is why Congress is considering a federal version.

Ms. Maloney’s bill would bar insurers from excluding viral epidemics from coverage. In future epidemics, they and the government would each pay a portion of the claims upfront. After that, the insurers would reimburse the government for its outlays over many years.

Evan G. Greenberg, the chief executive of the insurance giant Chubb Limited, has put forward another proposal. His plan would divide the market into two segments, one for small businesses and the other for medium-to-large businesses.

Small businesses would get a simple program that would replace a portion of each company’s payroll quickly. Buying coverage would be mandatory, unless a company opted out in writing. For larger companies the government would create a reinsurer, Pandemic Re. Insurance companies would write pandemic insurance, charging market-based premiums, then transferring most of the risk and the premiums to Pandemic Re.

“It’s a total free-market program,” Mr. Greenberg said. Companies could decide whether or not to participate. “But if you don’t,” he said, “don’t come to the government asking for a handout.”

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Robert Garmon and Rodney Spinato were the only black bartenders working for Wolfgang Puck Catering's Dallas operation. They were, as they describe in a discrimination lawsuit filed today, "excellent, hard-working employees who were wrongfully terminated because of their race."

What led them to this conclusion was not the fact that they were the operations only black bartenders but a "racially motivated verbal attack" delivered by a coworker and the disparate punishment that followed. According to their complaint, an employee named Max, who is white, launched into an unprovoked tirade on May 2, calling them stupid and worthless and suggesting they should be replaced by Mexicans. (A message left with Wolfgang Puck Catering has not been returned.)

"The connotation of this offensive language is that African Americans were such bad workers and lacking in intelligence that their jobs should be given to Mexicans," the suit states.

Garmon and Spinato say they briefly argued back and were told that they were being suspended without pay. In two more days, they say, they were fired. That might not have been so offensive had Max received the same punishment, but he didn't. He didn't get so much as a slap on the wrist, the suit claims.

"White employees are treated differently," the lawsuit says. Garmon and Spinato's firings were "completely unfounded and constituted a significantly more severe punishment than levied against white employees who engaged in similar or worse activities."

At which point the lawsuit enumerates, by name, the sins of their former colleagues.

In addition to the actions of Max referenced above, Tim (white male) was caught drinking on the job and smuggling in his personal liquor to the job site in violation of TABC rules and regulations. (Tim) was written up, but was not terminated. On information and belief, (Tim) continues to drink on the job, but has never been fired. Max (white male) and Gerald (white male) and other white bartenders have repeatedly been warned and written-up because of policy violations and misconduct with customers. They have all been allowed to keep their jobs. On information and belief, (Gerald) has also been caught drunk and/or under the influence of other intoxicating substances on the job. (Gerald) was not punished or fired.

Corey (white male) openly uses chewing tobacco behind the bar and in front of customers in violation of company policy. Although management was made aware of the policy violations, no punishment was ever levied. (Corey) is still employed.

In September 2011, Chelsea (white female) was promoted to manager even though numerous witnesses had reported to management that she regularly sstole money from the register. (Corey) was never written up or suspended for her actions.

On or about April 23, 2012, Molly (white female) called the Mexican American members of the cleaning crew "Fat ass lazy Mexicans" for no apparent reason whatsoever. Ms. Miller made these derogatory statements in the presence of the manager who proceeded to laugh. (Molly) was not written up or punished in any way for her actions.

Given all that, "Wolfgang Puck Catering's termination of Garmon and Spinato for allegedly arguing with Williams is nothing but a pretext for racial discrination."

Garmon and Spinato are seeking lost wages, unspecified damages, and orders to ensure the company complies with state labor laws and federal anti-discrimination laws.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free. Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

Wolfgang Puck Makes a Big Fort Worth Move, Shaking Up Museum Dining

Wolfgang Puck Catering takes over food and beverage at The Modern Art Museum this spring.

Photo from Puck's CUT at 45 Park Lane in London.

Café Modern's new Chef Jett Mora.

Café Modern surrounded by its reflecting pool.

W olfgang Puck is one of the most preeminent celebrity chefs in America. The Austrian-born globetrotter has a trove of branded restaurants to his credit ― most notably his Spago and CUT franchises, along with many self-styled eateries such as Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grills, and Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bars in hotspots around the world.

Now, Puck is making his first foray into Fort Worth, taking over the restaurant and catering operations at Cafe Modern, located inside The Modern Art Museum. Wolfgang Puck Catering will take the lead on all food and beverage operations at Cafe Modern beginning this spring.

Wolfgang’s last Dallas restaurant, Five Sixty By Wolfgang Puck, which took over Reunion Tower’s prime sky-high perch in 2009, closed its doors in March of 2020 during the heights of the COVID-19 shutdowns. But Puck’s catering has continued at a number of notable Dallas venues, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center and The Nasher Sculpture Center.

“We have been fortunate to be a part of the Texas culinary landscape for the past 13 years, and we are excited to expand our footprint in the state with our new partnership with the Modern,” Drew Swanson, Texas regional executive chef at Wolfgang Puck Catering, says in a statement.

Café Modern surrounded by its reflecting pool.

Denise Shavandy, the longtime chef at Cafe Modern, recently revealed that she had parted ways with the stylish dining venue. California-based hospitality management company Bon Appetit had run operations since the Tadao Ando designed museum and its in-house restaurant, overlooking the magnificent reflecting pool, originally debuted back in 2002.

For Shavandy, her next step includes launching a new culinary enterprise dubbed Spork & Spice. The well-traveled chef is known for her multi-cultural cuisine and intriguing menu pairings that touch on everything from Mexico City to Middle Eastern and Asian food. Spork & Spice will hold pop-up dinners and cooking classes, and put food programming on YouTube.

Wolfgang’s New World

Meanwhile, one of North Texas’ most vital museums is heading into a new food future.

“Wolfgang Puck Catering brings an international reputation for excellence to Cafe Modern, and we look forward to working with their team,” says Marla Price, the director of the Modern Art Museum.

Café Modern’s new Chef Jett Mora.

Puck’s new culinary team at Cafe Modern will be led by Chef Jett Mora, a veteran of the celebrity chef’s empire.

Mora spent years working alongside Wolfgang and his team of chefs to create menus for weddings, special events and corporate galas. These include some premier events such as the Oscars famous Governors Ball.

The Los Angeles-born and bred Mora relocated to Fort Worth earlier this year, and has already been busy immersing himself in the local food scene. Having already forged relationships with local farmers and purveyors, Mora will create seasonal menus centered around Texas ingredients.

At Cafe Modern, Mora will be teaming up with restaurant general manager Roxanne Mclarry, who has been with the museum for the past 17 years.

Photo from Puck’s CUT at 45 Park Lane in London.

Cafe Modern, which has been closed since last year’s COVID shutdowns, is slated to reopen later this spring.

In its return, the restaurant will offer weekday lunch, a Friday happy hour, Friday dinner and weekend brunch with seating available both indoors and on the outdoor patio. Mora’s menus will feature comfort food with global influences with a beverage program showcasing local spirits.

A renewed focus for the Wolfgang Puck team will be bringing its expertise to catered events at The Modern Art Museum.

This is a bold move for The Modern Art Museum, upping its catering and events power along with a fresh, new restaurant.

Tristar Power Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuit

After suffering injuries such as burns from an exploding Tristar pressure cooker, it's important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Consulting with an experienced defective pressure cooker lawyer is an important next step. At Chaffin Luhana, we will help you recover the money you need to obtain the best medical care and to achieve the highest quality of life. Time to file a claim is limited.

Electric pressure cookers have gained popularity over the last decade. These high-pressure devices exist in millions of households throughout the U.S. Though these cookers are loved by millions, some are known to be defective and have caused serious injuries during normal use.

Imagine seeing a new pressure cooker advertised on television. “Healthy meals in minutes,” the announcer says. You listen as he describes the high-pressure cooker that makes delicious homemade meals “in a fraction of the time.”

Enjoy pot roast, meatballs, lasagna, ribs, and more ten times faster than normal. Go from freezer to table in 15 minutes or less! One button, one pot kitchen miracle feeds your family wholesome, nutritious meals without you having to slave over a hot stove for hours.

You think that sounds good, so you order the device. When it arrives, you can’t wait to give it a try. You decide to start small and prepare pinto beans for your evening meal. You follow the instructions carefully, cook the beans, and then unplug the device and let it sit until it’s time to eat. Two hours later, without warning, the cooker explodes.

The lid blows off and the beans burst out of the cooker and land on you. You suffer extensive and severe burns and have to be rushed to the hospital. You undergo treatment for your injuries lasting 20 days, and you continue to suffer pain and permanent scarring afterward.

That’s exactly what allegedly happened to a Texas woman who ordered a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL. Believing that the cooker would operate as expected from the television advertisements, she bought it in good faith, hoping to enjoy years of home-cooked meals with her family.

The plaintiff filed a Pressure Cooker lawsuit against Tristar Products, Inc., claiming that the company defectively designed its product and failed to warn consumers of the risks.

Wolfgang Puck opens Fort Worth museum restaurant — a year after Dallas fine-dining spot closed

6:00 AM on Apr 7, 2021 CDT — Updated at 2:42 PM on May 18, 2021 CDT

[Story updated May 18, 2021, after the restaurant reopened for its first lunch service.]

Chef Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant group has taken charge of the food at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, both the Cafe Modern restaurant and catering operations.

The restaurant had its first service on May 18, 2021 and is initially open for lunch and brunch only dinner comes later.

Puck operates several dozen restaurants around the world, including a steakhouse named Cut and a California-inspired restaurant named Spago. Puck’s restaurant group has not operated any fine-dining restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth since April 2020, when Five Sixty restaurant at Reunion Tower in Dallas closed. (The company does, however, have a place at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.)

The partnership at the Modern signals Wolfgang Puck’s return to upscale dining in North Texas.

Wolfgang Puck Catering has a history with museums, as it also provides catering for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Nasher Sculpture Center, both in Dallas. It also recently became the hospitality provider for Space Center Houston.

The Modern project is Wolfgang Puck’s first foray into Fort Worth.

“Wolfgang Puck Catering brings an international reputation for excellence to Café Modern, and we look forward to working with their team,” says Marla Price, director of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in a statement.

The restaurant at Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum will keep its name, Cafe Modern. Chef Jett Mora leads the kitchen. Mora has worked for Wolfgang Puck for a decade and moved to Fort Worth from Los Angeles for the job.

Some of the menu items at lunch include chicken paillard pan-roasted mahi mahi and a Korean barbecue beef bowl with kimchi pickled vegetables and rice.

Closed for 379 days: 5 beloved Dallas-area restaurants and bars that finally reopened

Mora says he wants to find inspiration from the farmers markets around town. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and is Filipino American.

“I had the advantage of being in such a multicultural city,” he says of LA, noting that cuisines from many cultures were available “on one street,” walking distance from where he grew up.

“I have huge influences from all types of Asian food,” he says. He also was raised going on road trips with his dad, eating “tuna melts and craft sodas at hole-in-the-walls and burger joints along the road.”

While the restaurant may have fine-dining options on Friday evening, it also has sandwiches at lunch and egg dishes at brunch. Other brunch items include a fried chicken biscuit sandwich and beef migas.

The Wolfgang Puck team is also now presiding over the Modern’s catering and events. Each year (pre-pandemic), the museum hosts about 30 weddings and 15-25 corporate events and holiday dinners.

Cafe Modern is at 3200 Darnell St., inside the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The new menu is available as of May 18, 2021. Cafe Modern is open for lunch or brunch Tuesday through Sunday. Chef Mora plans to add dinner service in the future, on Fridays only.

Anti-Gay Harassment at Wolfgang Puck's Company Alleged

With the Academy Awards approaching and Wolfgang Puck preparing for Hollywood's biggest culinary event of the year, the Governor's Ball, attorneys for an ex-employee of the chef's namesake company announced that they've filed a lawsuit against Puck's corporate parent for alleged sexual harassment.

The plaintiff, 47-year-old Robert Bollinger, claims that he was discriminated against, called an anti-gay epithet, falsely accused of theft, and ultimately fired because of his sexual orientation.

The folks at Wolfgang Puck's parent company, …
… Charlotte, North Carolina-based Compass Group, sent us this statement in response to the suit:

Our policy is not to comment about personnel matters or litigation. That said, everyone at Wolfgang Puck Catering, including the CEO, Carl Schuster, respects and values the individuality and diversity that each employee brings to the job. We prioritize efforts, at all levels of our organization, to maintain a working environment built on trust, tolerance and respect.

The claim was filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, Bollinger's attorney told us.

The suit alleges that, after making complaints about alleged overtime and tip violations to corporate bosses at Compass, and after Bollinger identified himself as being gay, harassment ensued for the onetime regional director of operations at Wolfgang Puck.

-He was “replaced in his position on the payroll” by a heterosexual woman.

-Wolfgang Puck CEO Carl Schuster told him that gay people “are too emotional,” that homosexuality constitutes a “disgusting” lifestyle and gay people are “liars.”

-Bollinger was falsely imprisoned at work.

The suit says that Bollinger was accused of theft, locked in a room against his will and interrogated by a “loss prevention” employee, and fired on Dec. 4, 2012 under the threat that the company would take a theft case to the District Attorney's office.

He was coerced into signing a statement saying he would repay any money stolen from the company, the suit says.

Bollinger says the theft allegation stemmed from normal expenses claimed at the behest of clients. The claim alleges that Bollinger's final pay was withheld for months.

The suit says that charges were never filed and that Bollinger was ultimately given his back pay.

The ex-employee says the firing made it difficult for him to find new work and that he suffered distress, pain and suffering as a result of his experience at Wolfgang Puck.

No monetary amount was mentioned.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

Wolfgang Puck Prepares The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck returns for a Thanksgiving cooking demo.

Wolfgang has built an empire that encompasses three separate Wolfgang Puck entities: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.

He's best known for his restaurants Spago and Cut.

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck)

20-pound fresh free-range organic turkey
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch sections
3 organic carrots, cut into 1-inch sections
4 stalks of organic celery, cut into 1-inch sections
4 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 pound sweet butter
1 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Remove neck, giblets and liver from turkey. Wash inside and out with cold water and pat dry.

3. Mix 1/2 pound of butter with the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. With your hands, carefully separate breast meat and skin and spread rosemary butter in between. Rub turkey inside and outside with salt and black pepper. (If desired, stuff with mushroom stuffing - see recipe).

4. Place onion, carrots, celery, garlic, giblets, neck, and liver on the bottom of your roasting pan. Place turkey on top of mixture. Rub turkey with 1 cup of olive oil and transfer to preheated oven.

5. Roast for 45 minutes, then baste every 20 minutes. Add chicken stock as needed so that vegetables don't burn. Roast between 15 and 20 minutes per pound until internal temperature is 165 degrees F.

6. Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest in a warm place before serving.

7. Add the pomegranate juice to the roasting pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into small saucepan and with a ladle, remove excess fat and reduce until sauce slightly thickens.

8. Place turkey on serving platter. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Spoon 3 tablespoons of sauce over turkey. Place thyme-roasted Bartlett pears filled with cranberry relish around the turkey and place as centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.


1 brioche loaf
4 croissants
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 yellow onion
1/2 fennel bulb
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon sage
1 cup chestnuts roasted and chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
3 eggs
1 cup parsley chopped

1. Cut bread and croissants into 1-inch pieces and dry them out in the oven at 200 degrees F until they are dry to the touch.

2. Sweat diced carrots, celery, onion and fennel in butter until lightly caramelized.

3. Add chopped herbs and chestnuts to vegetables.

4. Add mixture to toasted bread and toss until fully incorporated and place in baking dish.

5. Beat the eggs and mix with the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper.

6. Pour egg mixture over the bread until all of the bread has moistened.

7. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F until brown on top and the egg stock mixture has set (about 45 minutes - 1 hour).

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, Pizza, Pasta & More!, Random House, 2000)

Makes 2 quarts

3-3/4 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash
1 acorn squash (about 1-3/4 pounds)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, or olive oil
1 white onion (about 4 ounces), peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

1 recipe Cranberry Relish (recipe follows)
1 recipe Cardamom Cream (recipe follows)
1/2 recipe Spiced Caramelized Pecans (recipe follows)
4 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cut each squash in half and discard the seeds. Brush cut sides with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Arrange the squash cut side down on a rack placed in a baking tray and bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool, scoop out the insides of the squash, and puree the flesh in a food processor. Reserve. You should have about 4 cups of pureed squash.

3. In a medium stockpot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Over low heat, sweat the onion. Do not allow it to brown. Add the pureed squash and cook over very low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Do not allow it to bubble up. Season with the salt, pepper, ginger, and cardamom.

4. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, still over low heat, stirring often. Cook about 20 minutes.

5. In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the rosemary sprig. Remove the rosemary and pour the cream into the soup. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process, in batches, for 2 or 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

6. To serve, ladle the soup into heated bowls. Place a tablespoon of Cranberry Relish in the center, top with a dollop of Cardamom Cream, then sprinkle with chopped pecans. Drizzle pumpkin oil over soup.

Note: If desired, bake small squash until tender, scoop out, and use as individual serving bowls.

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, Pizza, Pasta & More!, Random House, 2000)

Makes 1-1/3 cups

2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup verjus or 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and the berries are glazed. Allow to cool. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, Pizza, Pasta & More!, Random House, 2000)

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon black cardamom seeds

1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream and the cardamom to a boil. Reduce until only 1/4 cup remains. Allow to cool. Reserve.

2. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in the reserved mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, Pizza, Pasta & More!, Random House, 2000)

Makes 2 cups

3 cups peanut oil
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1. In a deep-fryer or a deep pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees F (a deep-frying thermometer can be clipped to the side of the pan so that you can tell when the proper temperature has been reached).

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pecans and boil for 2 minutes. Drain in a large strainer, shaking off all excess water. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne pepper over the nuts and then coat with the confectioner's sugar, a little at a time, allowing the sugar to melt into the pecans. Toss the nuts by shaking the strainer, adding a little more sugar each time, until all the sugar is used and all the nuts are coated. Do not use hands or a spoon to toss. The nuts should have a glaze of sugar.

3. Carefully add the nuts to the heated oil, keeping the oil at 350 degrees F. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon to a baking tray to cool.

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, 2000)

4 pounds organic red cabbage, cut into julienne
1 medium red onion, sliced
2 organic Granny Smith apples, sliced
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 teaspoons ginger powder
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups orange juice
2 cups red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
A few gold leaves for decoration (optional&mdashavailable at specialty stores)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat a heavy casserole. Add peanut oil. Sauté red onion until translucent. Sprinkle in brown sugar and cook for a few minutes until it starts to caramelize.

3. Add sliced apples and deglaze with the red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil. Add red wine and orange juice, cinnamon stick, ginger powder, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add red cabbage and continue to cook for about 10 minutes on top of the stove.

5. Cover cabbage with foil and cook in 350 degrees F. oven for about 45 minutes. Remove. Taste, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

(Recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck)

1/2 recipe Sugar Dough (recipe follows)
Cranberry Marmalade (recipe follows)

Pumpkin Filling:
2 cups (500 ml) canned organic pumpkin
1 cup (250 ml) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper
4 cage-free eggs
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (125 ml) half-and-half
3 tablespoons bourbon

1. Up to two days ahead, prepare the Sugar Dough and Cranberry Marmalade (recipes follow).

2. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 13-inch (32.5-cm) circle. Transfer to a 10-inch (25-cm) deep-dish pie plate. Gently press the dough into the plate and trim the edges with a small, sharp knife. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

4. Line the chilled pie shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper or foil and weights bake for 10 minutes more. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

5. Spread the Cranberry Marmalade evenly on the bottom of the pie shell.

6. For the Pumpkin Filling, in a large mixing bowl combine the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, salt, and pepper. With a wire whisk, thoroughly stir in the eggs, cream, half-and-half, and bourbon. Pour into the pie shell and smooth its surface with a rubber spatula.

7. Bake the pie until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator before cutting into wedges and serving.

Sugar Dough:
Makes enough for 2 pies

1 2/3 cups (415 ml) all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups (415 ml) cake flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (125 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cage-free egg yolks
1 tablespoon whipping cream
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1. Put the flours, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade. Pulse to combine.

2. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the egg yolks and cream and pulse twice. Pulse in enough of the ice water to form a smooth but not wet dough.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk, wrap it individually in plastic wrap, and seal in an airtight freezer bag. Refrigerate 1 piece until ready to make the pie freeze the other piece for another use.

Cranberry Marmalade:
Makes about 1 cup (250 ml)

4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise in half, seeds scraped out and reserved
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 pound (250 g) fresh or frozen cranberries

Put the sugar, water, orange zest, Grand Marnier, vanilla bean and seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cranberries, reduce the heat, and simmer until the berries have softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. If making in advance, transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Share All sharing options for: Wolfgang Puck's Catering Company Sued for Stealing Tips

Chef and smurf voice actor Wolfgang Puck's catering company was slapped with a class action lawsuit, claiming that he owed his employees "hundreds of thousands in unpaid gratuity" going back to 2008. According to the New York Post, the suit, which was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, says the company charged venues including Irving Plaza and the Gramercy Theatre with a 22 percent service fee but didn't pass along the tips to servers and bartenders. Not entirely legal, according to state and federal law.

This year has been tough for the Austrian-born chef's legal team. Just three months ago a woman sued Puck after a waitress at his DC restaurant The Source allegedly hit her with a water pitcher.