You’ve probably heard the statistic that 90 percent of restaurants fail in the first year. That’s not true. It’s actually more like 60 percent in the first three years. But the sentiment still holds. It’s really hard to open a successful one and even harder to make one last.
So how did an immigrant with no high school education, let alone a culinary school degree, become the most famous chef in America and build an empire worth over $400 million? It’s a harrowing story that involves poverty, abuse, child labor, a firing or two, an attempted suicide and huge heaping helpings of gumption, drive and stick-to-itiveness.
Wolfgang Puck is widely considered the first modern celebrity chef. But don’t say that to his face.