He has well and truly conquered the world of professional cooking and now he’s treating foodies with brand-new restaurants at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay. FACT sits down for a one-on-one with the culinary master himself, Celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck, to learn more about his restaurants, pick up some cooking tips, and find out exactly what it’s like to have prepared the Oscars menu for the past 21 years…

Describe each of your venues at Four Seasons Bahrain Bay?

At Four Seasons we have two main concepts, one is called CUT – which is a modern American steakhouse, mainly serving meat from all over the world. We prepare a lot on the wood-fire grill, with side dishes. Below CUT we have a lounge, where you can come and hang out and have light appetisers like crab rolls, mini burgers, and salads. On the 50th floor with a spectacular view we have our Chinese-style restaurant ‘re Asian’. I love all sorts of Asian cuisines mainly because of the spices and to me it’s interesting. So this restaurant serves dumplings, steamed fish, meat, chicken, and more. It is really a modern Chinese restaurant with western-style service. We also have a lounge area that is more easygoing and is done up in a Moroccan style.

Describe each of your venues at Four Seasons Bahrain Bay?

At Four Seasons we have two main concepts, one is called CUT – which is a modern American steakhouse, mainly serving meat from all over the world. We prepare a lot on the wood-fire grill, with side dishes. Below CUT we have a lounge, where you can come and hang out and have light appetisers like crab rolls, mini burgers, and salads. On the 50th floor with a spectacular view we have our Chinese-style restaurant ‘re Asian’. I love all sorts of Asian cuisines mainly because of the spices and to me it’s interesting. So this restaurant serves dumplings, steamed fish, meat, chicken, and more. It is really a modern Chinese restaurant with western-style service. We also have a lounge area that is more easygoing and is done up in a Moroccan style.

Tips for preparing the perfect steak…

Like every other dish, it really starts with the ingredients – it is really important to get the right cut. For me, before cooking the steak you have to let it sit outside and bring it to room temperature; you don’t want to put it onto the grill right out of the refrigerator. The meat should not be frozen, it should be fresh and it has to be aged. For example, we age American beef for 35 days, sometimes 40 days. I like to season it with a little sea salt, pepper and olive oil, and grill it. I love French Fries and Onion Rings with it. So, the main thing with the steak is, once you grill it the way you like it; I like it medium rare, you let it rest a little. Don’t take it off the grill and cut it, leave it for 5 to 10 minutes, so that the juices don’t come out when you cut into it.

How would you define fine dining?

Fine dining is such a funny title, because fine dining is great quality like fine clothes, you don’t say fine clothes – you say chic clothes, or elegant clothes. Our restaurants are upscale dining as we use the best ingredients. I want people to have fun; I want them to have a good time. We play rock ‘n’ roll music! If you like good food, you need to have a good ambience. For me the only serious thing should be on the plate – the rest should be fun!

What inspires you to keep cooking after so many years in the industry?

I love cooking, I just love the process of cooking. I get inspired while I am working, doing things. To me I still love going to the fish market, like yesterday we went to the farm. I love the process of getting the best ingredients and cooking and enhancing them to create something special. Maybe if I had just one restaurant and did the same thing everyday, it might feel different, but I do a lot of things. Like recently we developed an oven where you can cook a 7kg turkey in 55 minutes!

You’ve been preparing the Oscars menu for the past 21 years – is there pressure when cooking for celebrities?

It is not a pressure cooking for celebrities, I know most of them and I know what they like to eat. Like Barbara Streisand; she saw me in the restaurant in LA and asked me “Wolfgang are you going to make the Chicken Pot Pie like last year” and I said, “for sure, I will make it.” At that point in time I had not even thought of preparing that dish, but everybody loves it! At the Oscars you will find so much; the seafood stations, sushi bar, all the best things. But somehow they love the homely Chicken Pot Pie. There are some Signature dishes we prepare every year; like the Chocolate Oscar with 24-carat gold, Smoked Salmon cut-out in the shape of the Oscar and now, I guess, the Chicken Pot Pie will be a signature too!

As a world-famous chef, what matters more – taste or presentation?

Say, when you look for a boyfriend the first thing you want is someone handsome, but if they have no heart, no brain, it gets boring. You might as well have somebody who is not as good looking but has a good heart, good sense of humour and is smart. With food it is the same! It is amazing to have great looking food, but when you eat it, if it doesn’t taste as good as it looks then there’s no point. Of course, there are times when you get both together, but with some dishes it is not the same. If I had to choose it would be the taste.

What’s the greatest honour or compliment you’ve received as a chef?

My greatest compliment in a restaurant is when people finish dinner, and when they head out, they stop at the main desk and make their next reservation. That’s what makes me happy. We have created a regular clientele, and that’s important.

What’s your favourite sauce?

It depends on the steak you eat, with different parts of the meat, different sauces work. For example a fillet is very lean so you can have a richer sauce with it. If you have a New York steak or Rib eye, it’s rich by itself so you can have the béarnaise sauce. For Tenderloin I like pepper sauce – it is perfect!

You’re a busy man – TV shows, book launches, restaurant openings – do you still enjoy the grind?

I love to be with and around people, in the kitchen, with the farmers growing vegetables, with the guys at the fish market. I’d much rather go there, than a fancy mall and look at clothes. Food is my life.