In the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck

Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen at London's 45 Park Lane hotel.

In the kitchen at 45 Park Lane, home of Wolfgang Puck’s first European restaurant, CUT.

When I was invited to London’s 45 Park Lane hotel for a cooking lesson with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, I wondered if I should warn him about “the incident.” That is to say, the day I set my kitchen on fire. (I saw no point in muddying the waters by revealing the time I nearly blew my head off with a pressure cooker, too).

A little background. I had recently met the man who would become my husband, and I wanted to impress him. What I should have done, of course, is buy a sexy French maid’s outfit. Instead, I donned an apron and pulled out the dusty wok my father had given me when I went to university. (Really, Dad? A beer bottle opener would’ve been more useful).

I had only the vaguest notion that this shiny concave object wasn’t merely a handy vessel for serving up homemade hunch punch, but something to do with the mysteries of culinary alchemy. So I called my Dad—the chef in my family—and asked what I should do if I wanted to stir-fry a meal for my fella. “Well, turn on the stove, and wait for the wok to turn blue,” he advised. “Then add the oil.”

Now, you have to know my father to really appreciate his sense of humor. He probably thought I knew he was joking. I didn’t.

After waiting what seemed like (and possibly was) hours, I finally poured in the oil. Cue three-foot high flames and a four-alarm fire.

My beau wasn’t bothered, though. He loves cooking, and perhaps fearing for our lives (or at least the home insurance premium), he assured me that he was happy to take on kitchen duties forever after.

“I’m glad you don’t like to cook,” he insisted. “Then we’d argue over who got to make dinner.” Yes, my friends. He actually views cooking as a privilege, not a chore. He once complained, when preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for 16 famished family members, that he didn’t have enough to cook. As for myself, I’ve rarely attempted anything more ambitious than toast in years.

When I cringingingly disclosed my kitchen catastrophe, Wolfgang merely offered the Austrian equivalent of a Gallic shrug, freely admitting that he once set a wok alight, too. (They’re tools of the devil, I tell you). Undeterred (and no doubt well-insured), he bravely stepped up to the stove to show me how to make the perfect omelette—his tried-and-true test for aspiring new chefs.

Wolfgang Puck at a stove in the kitchen of London's 45 Park Lane Hotel.

The first time I’ve been allowed near a stove since “the incident.”

Want to know how to make Wolfgang Puck’s “eggcellent” 5-minute omelette yourself? Click on the link below to watch a video of the two of us in action. (Spoiler alert: no firemen were required…this time).

So I’ve effectively doubled my culinary repertoire. I can now make make toast and an omelette.

The irony of it all? My husband doesn’t even like eggs.

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