Recognised for his vast restaurant empire and profound influence on international dining, FACT’s Sara Waddah joins Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen to learn about a dish that has stood the test of time!
Returning to the Kingdom of Bahrain to one of his modern American steakhouses, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, I was honoured to meet the Austrian chef himself, while the weather was still bearable for a delightful al fresco lunch overlooking striking views of Bahrain Bay.
A force to be reckoned with, Puck has been recognised for his modern French cooking in kitchens all over the world – as well as his collection of Wolfgang Puck companies that includes more than 20 fine-dining restaurants, kitchen and food merchandise, cookbooks and even coffee products that are currently being sold across the globe.
Bringing some of his special dishes to the Bahrain restaurant’s exclusive menu for the weekend, we were actually able to join Chef Wolfgang, behind the scenes at CUT by Wolfgang Puck, where he gave me a one-on-one class on how to make his infamous Loup De Mer en Croute, right from scratch!
As he began to prepare the fish, he spoke about his journey, highlighting California Nouvelle, the cuisine introduced at Ma Maison. It made the eatery a huge hit in the 70s and is still, to this day, credited with getting Chef Wolfgang’s career off the ground.
“My mother was actually a pastry chef,” he said, explaining the inspiration behind many of his dishes, “and fish is actually the healthiest dish to make!” Beginning his preparations for the infamous fish in puff pastry, I asked how he was able to come up with this conceptual dish at such a young age and how it had become well known in such a short period of time.
“I used to make fish at Ma Maison for dinner almost every day. It was actually the kitchen’s special, every night! Why? [laughs] I had a very small kitchen back then, and couldn’t cook enough fish in a sauté pan all at once… But I could make it like this and put two, three, even four big fishes into the oven together. When they were ready, I would bring them out to the Dining Hall, and everyone would ask ‘What is that? We want it too!’.”
Cooking the recipe with only fresh seabass fillets, I followed the chef into the kitchen where we waited for the pastry to finish cooking in the oven and added the final touches on the dish, with the help of the venue’s Executive Chef, Brian Becher. Then we took our seats for a fabulous dinner.
Setting the almost-too-good-to-eat dish, avec deux sauce — because two sauces will always be better than one — right by the terrace overlooking the remarkable bay area, I was able to indulge in a one-of-a-kind Seabass in Puff Pastry, it was no shocker that the entire experience was breathtaking from start to finish.
Promising us that he would’ve loved to spend longer on the island, Chef Wolfgang laughed and pointed back into the restaurant, saying: “I would be back more often, but I know Chef Brian has this place under control for now.”
What an honour to be in the presence of such gifted individuals doing nothing less than nourishing our bodies with great food – the recipe Chef Wolfgang shares is highly recommended for a glimpse of the entire Ma Maison experience in a bite! ✤
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