NET WORTH: $75 Million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Chef, Television Personality
FUNDING AREAS: Human Services, Health
OVERVIEW: For decades, Wolfgang Puck and his then-wife Barbara Lazaroff moved their philanthropy through the Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation, which hosted the annual American Wine and Food Festival to support Los Angeles-area Meals-on-Wheels programs. Puck continues some of this work through other avenues. Additionally, he's supported health and Jewish causes.
BACKGROUND: Wolfgang Puck began cooking with his mother as a child in Austria. She was a chef and encouraged Puck's own interest in the area. Puck began his formal training as a teen, and as a young chef, worked in some of the finest restaurants in France. At 24, Puck headed to the United States, working at a restaurant in Indianapolis. In 1975, Puck moved to Los Angeles and became chef and eventually part owner of Ma Maison in West Hollywood. After Ma Maison, Puck established his flagship restaurant, Spago, originally located on the Sunset Strip. In 1983, Puck opened Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. Puck has also opened casual eateries, written cookbooks and starred in Wolfgang Puck.
HUMAN SERVICES: Puck and his ex-wife Barbara Lazaroff founded the Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation. For decades, the foundation hosted the annual American Wine and Food Festival, which has benefited Meals-on-Wheels programs of Los Angeles, raising more than $13 million through the years. These Meals-on-Wheels programs provided "a warm, nourishing meal every day to homebound individuals, primarily the elderly." Last decade, Puck resigned from the board of Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation. Lazaroff continues some of this work through the renamed American Wine & Food Festival Foundation for Meals-on-Wheels. Puck has participated in the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival, which raises money for Meals-on-Wheels as well.
HEALTH: Decades ago, Barbara Lazaroff and Puck founded the annual California Spirit Event, which has raised millions of dollars to support the American Cancer Society. Support has also gone to Alzheimer's Association, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Nevada Cancer Institute, Children's Diabetes Foundation, Race to MS, the Special Olympics, Cystic Fibrosis Society, and more.
OTHER: Spago has hosted Passover Seder to benefit Mazon for hunger relief. Puck has also supported the Animal Foundation in Las Vegas.
LOOKING FORWARD: These days, Puck appears to be doing a lot of his work without a formal charitable vehicle. This makes the full scope of his philanthropy, and where it's going, hard to get a handle on.