|Over the past two decades, Wolfgang Puck, son of an Austrian coal miner, has become a U.S. culinary star and household name.|
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On a busy Saturday night at his Spago Beverly Hills restaurant, Wolfgang Puck is in the kitchen, doing what he loves. He pokes a finger into a pot to taste a sauce, then materializes 30 feet away to show a line cook how to plate a dish. He seems so viscerally involved, so much a part of the cooking process, that it's unclear how the line would manage if he left for a break.
But then some internal alarm sounds, some mechanism in his head that reminds him he's been out of view too long. He walks out into a dining room filled with the known and the unknown. Among this night's several hundred diners are Jacqueline Bisset, Ed Begley Jr., financier Marvin Davis, retired racecar driver Phil Hill and New Line Cinema's Bob Shaye. A lively group of 50 General Motors Corp. executives takes up much of the main dining room -- but there's space also, no doubt, for a few couples having their first Spago meal.
Puck tries to catch everyone's eye, acknowledge both old friends and friends he hasn't yet made. "The walls are beautiful, but they're still walls," he explains. "What matters is the people, the personal greeting. My job is to train my people and then go out and say hello."
Because of his success, Puck doesn't get to cook as often as he used to. He races from one to the next of his 13 fine-dining restaurants from Tokyo to Chicago, with side trips to the 18 ultracasual Wolfgang Puck Cafes and the 25 (and counting) Wolfgang Puck Express fast-food joints. Then he's off taping ABC's Good Morning America spots and Food Network episodes, and hawking his wares on the Home Shopping Network.
But even when he's in a restaurant, he's almost too famous to cook. Word spreads that Puck is in the house, and a buzz starts. Before you know it, he's at a table across the room greeting a famous face. Then he's at your table, and your night is made.
"Maybe it's from television," Puck says. "But if you asked a customer, 'What you would like, that Wolf comes and sits with you or that Wolf cooks for you?' everybody will say, 'Sit with me.'"
Fortunately, Puck has mastered the art of seeming to be in more than one place at a time. "You say, 'Goddammit, Wolf, I know you were in Hawaii last night and now here you are,'" says Piero Selvaggio, owner of Valentino -- one of Spago's few rivals as the premier Los Angeles restaurant -- and also the godfather of Puck's children. "He has the gift of ubiquity. He knows exactly who's coming in, and at what time. Many times, I've had him call and say, 'I'll be over in 20 minutes. I have someone arriving in five minutes, and I just have to shake his hand.'"
Selvaggio once left Puck in Los Angeles and flew to Las Vegas, where they both have restaurants. He walked by the Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars and saw Puck greeting customers. It was a wax figure from Madame Tussaud's, pulled out of the museum as a stunt, but even before he realized that, Selvaggio wasn't really surprised. "If anyone could have pulled that off," he shrugs, "it's Wolf."
At 10:30 on a Saturday morning, Puck takes a walk. Since late last year, he has been separated from Barbara Lazaroff, whom he married in 1983. A spur to his ambition and a designer with a singular touch, she remains his business partner, but divorce papers have been filed. While a new house not far from Spago Beverly Hills is being designed and constructed, he's living at The Peninsula hotel, a few blocks away. It's gorgeous there, but life in a hotel can't help but induce claustrophobia.
So he heads out the door, moving with speed. He travels down Wilshire Boulevard, then turns north past the minimansions of the Beverly flats. So accustomed are we to seeing him in chef's whites that black nylon pants and a baseball cap look improper, as though he has borrowed someone else's clothes. Still, he'll pass a man power-walking with hand weights, or a woman leading a fluffy dog, and get that nod of recognition. His face is on billboards, on trucks 10 feet high. He can't go unrecognized.
Now he's striding up the hill, sweat on his brow. He passes the street where his house is located -- Lazaroff and their sons' house, that is -- and it's odd for him not to turn in. Instead, he quickens his pace up Loma Vista, high into the hills. It's a real workout, and he isn't even panting. He's in better shape at 53 than he was at 40. "Friends were dying," he says. "I had to do something."
He's in rarified territory, passing the big mansions where the air is clear, and he ticks off the landmarks while he walks. Here's where Lew Wasserman used to live. Here's his friend Marvin Davis' hilltop manse, 13 acres. It's the one that used to belong to Dino De Laurentiis, and before that, Kenny Rogers. There's Jerry Weintraub's house, and his tennis court, which Puck uses whenever he wants to, and that was Moshe Dayan's down there, and that's where Sinatra lived. He knows -- or knew -- all of them, from the original Spago on Sunset Strip. "It's amazing how many have died," he says. "Fred Astaire. [Irving] Swifty Lazar. So many of the old regulars."
Those who are still here eat differently than they did 20 years ago, in large part because of Puck. "When I first started, they all wanted country club food," he says. "Shrimp cocktail. Iceberg lettuce. A martini instead of wine. It's amazing how the city has changed in 20 years."
And how Puck has changed, from a local chef to a worldwide phenomenon. In the two decades since he and Lazaroff opened Spago on Sunset Boulevard in 1982, this son of an Austrian coal miner has created a range of businesses and brands, from gourmet restaurants to canned soups. He did it by ignoring the trappings of his classical training, though not the substance. Like a Cubist painter, he had to understand the rules in order to break them. Spago was the result. Its open kitchen, patio furniture, unprepossessing food such as pizzas and pastas, and gregarious waitstaff changed the way Americans eat.
Puck took the starched jackets off the wine waiters. He made pizza and Chinese food suitable formats for haute cuisine. (He did the same with hot dogs and beer at Eureka, a restaurant and brewpub he opened in West Los Angeles in the late 1980s, though it didn't last.) He demystified great food, made it democratic, in a way that only Los Angeles was ready to appreciate. As a result, this former culinary backwater was transformed into one of the world's great food cities. Puck may not have invented California cuisine, but through the years, Spago has come to define it. "It is the perfect California restaurant," says Selvaggio.
Yet Puck knew almost nothing about California when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1974. What he knew was food, classically prepared and presented. He'd grown up in a small Austrian town, watching his mother cook for the dining room of a lakefront hotel. By the time he was 14 years old, cooking had become both an avocation and a career path. "After hours, I stayed with the pastry chef and talked with him and learned," Puck says. "It was more interesting than playing soccer or walking around the town."
He spent three years learning the business at a school in Villath, Austria. At 17, he graduated and embarked on his career. He worked in Dijon, then at L'Oustau de Baumanière in Provence. He moved to the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, then to Maxim's in Paris, perhaps the most exalted restaurant in the world at the time.
In Provence, he learned to appreciate local ingredients. "We had a huge vegetable garden," he says. "We'd serve the tiniest beans. Even years later, I never forgot the flavor." At Maxim's, he came to understand the value of a celebrity clientele. "It's always exciting when you have someone rich and famous, or a politician, or a sports figure, come into the restaurant," he says. "It's a big part of getting people excited. Maxim's had it every day."
By 1973, the 24-year-old Puck was ready for a change. He'd been networking with friends about a possible job in New York. He came for a visit, following one lead to the next. He ended up at dinner at La Grenouille, talking up owner Charles Masson.
Masson had no openings, but he placed a call to Pierre Orsi, who was managing a stable of restaurants out of Chicago. Orsi didn't need help at his flagship property on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building, but he had something down the highway at La Tour in Indianapolis. Puck learned that they had a dessert cart and that they served a suit-and-tie clientele. That sounded good. He knew the city had the Indianapolis 500, so he figured it must be the American equivalent of Monte Carlo, where the most famous auto race in Europe, the Grand Prix of Monaco, is run.
It wasn't. "It amazed me how many steaks well-done I cooked there," he says now. He learned English and spent a productive year there, but left absolutely no imprint on the city's dining habits. How could he? In the mid-1970s, Indianapolis wasn't ready, and Puck wasn't either.
After a year, he cast an eye toward the management company's properties in California. He wanted to try San Francisco, but Restaurant François in downtown Los Angeles needed a sous chef. Succeed there, Orsi told him, and who knew what might develop?
Once in Los Angeles, Puck came across a friend from Maxim's who was working for Patrick Terrail (the nephew of La Tour d'Argent's Claude Terrail), at a restaurant called Ma Maison. Before long, Puck was doing double shifts: lunch at François and dinner at Ma Maison. His work was impressive. When the executive chef at Ma Maison left, Terrail offered Puck the position.
Ma Maison had AstroTurf on the floor and a certain funkiness larding the tradition, but it served traditional French food. "It was a strange place," Puck says. He briefly considered changing his euphonious name to something more suitable to haute cuisine. Then he thought hard and realized that he might not be cooking French food all his life.
At Ma Maison, he started turning out food taken directly from the kitchens of Maxim's and Hotel de Paris, with a touch of the Provençal style he'd learned along the way. It was expatriate French food that might have been served anywhere. Several years on, he started to change. He remembered those Provençal beans and wondered what local produce he might find in the markets around Los Angeles.
"The kitchen was small, so I couldn't play like I wanted to," he says. "But I looked around L.A. and I thought, wow, we have so many cultures here. How can we serve canned tuna on the salad when we have fresh tuna here?" So he replaced the tuna in the salad Niçoise, and started grilling salmon to serve atop tomato basil vinaigrette. He used fresh local produce whenever he could, and began to shift in the direction he would ultimately go.
That direction, he felt then, was his own pizza parlor, with checkered tablecloths and sawdust on the floor. "I always admired people like [Lutèce's] Andre Soltner, who could stay in his little restaurant -- a very, very good one -- and do the same filet en crote every night and be satisfied," he says. "That was never my character."
The plan was to open a new restaurant -- called Mt. Vesuvio -- in partnership with Terrail. But Puck wanted 50 percent and Terrail insisted on at least 51 percent for himself. "I guess I'll have to quit," Puck said over that 1 percent, and he did. For 10 years, he didn't allow Terrail in his restaurant. "It was a bad divorce," he says now.
Without his position at Ma Maison, Puck could concentrate on his new restaurant, where he hoped to offer more than pizzas and pastas. The pizzeria concept had evolved into something markedly more complicated, a type of restaurant that didn't actually exist at that time. For a name, his friend Giorgio Moroder, the polymath musician, writer and architect, suggested the word "Spago," which means a string with no beginning and no end. "That sounds nice enough," Puck said. His mind was filled with other details, such as where the money would come from.
When this classically trained French chef announced his intention to open an informal Italian restaurant, the reaction was an uproar. Even his friends told him to reconsider. They'd pull Lazaroff aside at social functions and tell her to stop Puck before he ruined his reputation. Spago's opening party in 1982 is legendary. People walked around the room, which looked like no fine-dining restaurant had ever looked before, and whispered, "What a waste of talent!"
"It was a surreal atmosphere," says Manfred Krankl, a partner in the Los Angeles restaurant Campanile, and a winemaker with his own label, Sine Qua Non. "Everyone knew Wolfgang, the restaurant was already highly touted, the opening was like a who's who, and here was this restaurant with picnic chairs and patio furniture serving casual food. I was dumbfounded. All the regimented forms and structures I was brought up with were out the window."
The open kitchen was perhaps the most scandalous aspect of the old Spago. It not only demystified the act of cooking, it put the kitchen, with its sights, sounds and smells, in the face of the diner. "I had a very hard time swallowing that," says Selvaggio. "I was coming from the traditional point of view, and so was everybody else. He was throwing away the rules of what a restaurant should be."
But Puck knew his clientele. He knew that Los Angeles wasn't nearly as entrenched in the grand European dining tradition as East Coast cities were. Spago's food was lighter, more fun. "We called it California cuisine because I didn't know what to write on the menu," he says. "But what that meant was, we're going to express what we have here. And that meant two things. The ingredients, but also the culture."
The impact was immediate. Before long, chefs everywhere were coming out of the kitchen to interact with customers. Restaurants were designed with open kitchens and bar seating; the less formal, the better. And Puck's signature dishes quickly became inspirations. "At one point, every restaurant that opened thought they had to have pizza on the menu," he says.
Now Puck owns four upscale restaurants around Los Angeles, including Hollywood's year-old Brasserie Vert, but they are only a small part of the territory he has staked out across the continent and beyond. Up the coast is contemporary American Postrio, one of San Francisco's most prominent restaurants, and there's another Spago in Palo Alto, Calif. Las Vegas too has four of Puck's fine-dining properties -- a Spago, the Chinese-French hybrid Chinois, a Postrio and the singular Trattoria del Lupo -- along with various other cafés and concessions. There's a Spago in Maui, Hawaii, and one in Chicago, cafés scattered from west to east, Wolfgang Puck Expresses in airports and beyond. The newest fine-dining property, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, opened in Tokyo in April. Such expansion is a product of Puck's own ambition, but it's also a business decision. "If we don't keep growing, some of our good people will leave," he says.
Then he has the canned soups and the frozen pizzas and entrées; five cookbooks; the kitchenware he sells on the Home Shopping Network. "That alone grosses $20 million a year, and nobody realizes it," Puck says, less boastful than incredulous at the success that seems to rain upon him wherever he goes.
Last year, his three companies -- Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., Fine Dining Group, and Catering and Events -- together grossed $375 million. His net income is far lower and as much as $150 million belongs to business partners, such as the Home Shopping Network, or to the individual owners of the Wolfgang Puck Express franchises across America, but Puck's empire still dwarfs that of any other celebrity chef. The sheer volume of businesses he operates sees to that.
According to published figures confirmed by Puck's executives, the total net revenues of Puck's companies approached $220 million in 2002. Wolfgang Puck Worldwide -- including the casual dining unit of 18 Wolfgang Puck Cafes, 25 Wolfgang Puck Express franchises and the 21 Cucina! Cucina! and Cucina! Presto! locations acquired in June of 2002 -- accounted for more than half of the company's net revenue. Under the same umbrella are cookbook sales, the television income and the branded supermarket items.
Puck's 12 fine-dining locations netted $80 million to $85 million more, while his Catering and Events unit (serving the Academy Awards, famously, but also clients as disparate as Goldman Sachs' Chicago offices and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art) added another $24 million.
The empire has grown exponentially in value from the early '80s, when Puck had only L.A.'s Spago and Chinois on Main. The growth curve spiked after Las Vegas became a fine-dining destination in the mid-'90s. If the Los Angeles product is exportable to Las Vegas, the thought was, why not somewhere else?
"In about a 14-month period, we opened in Chicago, followed by the new Beverly Hills and Palo Alto Spagos, followed by Chinois in Las Vegas," says Tom Kaplan, senior managing partner of the Fine Dining Group, who has worked with Puck since Ma Maison. Concurrently, Puck's casual dining unit was also expanding. "As we did well, [the restaurants] could come into a market and take advantage of the name, the brand and the presentation," Kaplan says.
The increase has been no less dramatic over the past few years. One study shows that 77 percent of all the urban households in America are aware of Wolfgang Puck, and more than half of those gained that awareness through television. "The primary beneficiaries of the media awareness are the supermarket products and the Wolfgang Puck Express franchise development," says Rob Kautz, the president and CEO of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide. If anything, Puck will spend the coming years as more of a businessman than ever before.
Yet at heart, Puck remains a chef, more at home in the kitchen than anywhere else. On his application for a U.S. passport after gaining citizenship in 1999, he listed his profession as "cook."
More than that, Puck's talent with pots and pans is renowned among gourmands. The same man who has made a fortune connecting with Americans of all types has retained his cachet among the most fickle of diners. "You can get food at Spago that's as good as anywhere in the world," says Edward Lazarus, a Los Angeles attorney, investor and wine collector who has run the regional chapter of the Chaine des Rotisseurs culinary society for 15 years.
Lazarus estimates that he eats 10 wine dinners a year at either Spago or Chinois on Main. As far as he can remember, Puck has not repeated a single dish in more than a decade. And only a few of the several hundred have fallen flat.
Such innovation coupled with consistency is remarkable for food at the highest level, and it serves as a microcosm for Puck's career. "A lot of people in my crowd eat at the best restaurants in the world all the time, and nobody disagrees with my assessment," Lazarus says. "There are some chefs in the world that are as good as he is, but I don't think there's a chef that's better."
Puck's restaurants are equally accomplished at choosing and serving wine, though the assortment of wines they serve has evolved with the times. When Spago opened, Puck's clientele was accustomed to drinking Bordeaux, Burgundy and high-end Champagne. Even California wines were something of a novelty. Sangiovese, Tempranillo and even Zinfandel were grape varieties from the textbooks, not bottles of wine to order at dinner on a nice evening out.
"When we started Spago, people only knew Cabernet and Chardonnay," Puck says. "We tried to show them some new things. If someone wanted a Jordan Cabernet, we said, 'We don't have that, but we have something very similar that we believe you'll like even better.' People had never tasted any other wines."
Accordingly, Puck wants his wine staff to be as accessible as possible, instead of looking and acting like docents in an art museum. "I never wore a jacket. I never wore a tastevin," says Michael Bonaccorsi, a master sommelier who managed Spago's wine program from late 1994 until mid-2002 and who is now making his own wine from Santa Barbara fruit under the Bonaccorsi label. Before Bonaccorsi, Puck never even had a proper sommelier.
Puck has always believed that wine is merely a component -- a natural part of the meal, "like the mashed potatoes going with the steak," he says. "If you make too much out of wine, make it so serious, it's a bad thing." Under Bonaccorsi, wine evolved to precisely that functional place in the Spago experience. Bonaccorsi assembled his staff to taste wines and read wine textbooks, not once a week but for 15 minutes every day. He stopped presenting the corks of younger wines to diners, theorizing that it was all ceremony and no substance. He pushed wine by the glass and food-friendly varietals and blends.
That philosophy suffuses all of Puck's properties. While keeping a firm hand on the menus of his various Spagos, Postrios and more, Puck urges each restaurant to establish its own wine personality. "All I tell them is to make it so it has a good price and a good variety," he says. Under the direction of Kevin O'Connor, who succeeded Bonaccorsi, Spago Beverly Hills has compiled one of the better selections of wines in Los Angeles. (The list holds a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.)
There are plenty of wines less than $50, from well-known brands such as Spottswoode (the Sauvignon Blanc 2001, at $48) to insider favorites such as Melville Syrah 2001 from the Santa Rita Hills ($48). But Puck's clientele being what it is, a customer can also romp through a selection of some of the finest wines in the world, one category after the next.
The 1988 Krug Clos du Mesnil ($495) is a highlight of page one, while a six-vintage vertical of Château d'Yquem ($550 to $1,725 a bottle, depending on the year) stands out on page 27, the other end of the wine list. In between, you'll find Romanée-Conti, Kistler, Opus One, Phelps Insignia, five Chave Hermitages back to 1983, the 1945 Château Lafite Rothschild, the 1947 and 1961 Château Latour, the 1959 Château Mouton-Rothschild, a Vega Sicilia Unico, and a full selection of California cult wines.
None of Puck's other restaurants offers as great a range, but each wine list is formidable in its own way. Setting matters. The Las Vegas properties, nearly all within earshot of the tinkle of slot machines, cater to a more diverse clientele than do the stand-alone Spagos of Chicago and Palo Alto. The lists reflect that. "Las Vegas needs to offer high-end wines down to low-end wines, so we can hit all the marks," says Luis DeSantos, a master sommelier who oversees the four Las Vegas fine-dining restaurants and the Spagos in Palo Alto, Chicago and Maui.
Puck's wine program is semicentralized. DeSantos has his bailiwick of seven fine-dining properties. O'Connor runs the program at Spago Beverly Hills, and offers guidance at Chinois on Main and Malibu's Granita, which has a Mediterranean influence. Klaus Puck, Wolfgang's brother, does Brasserie Vert. At San Francisco's Postrio, the management is actively involved with the wine program so less supervision is needed.
"It's a strange mix," says Klaus Puck. "If a general manager is strong and has a good wine background and wants to do the list, he can, even though we might have someone in Las Vegas helping too. Not each property you go to should be the same."
That makes for a wide range of approaches. At Spago Maui, for example, the selections don't delve nearly as deeply into Italy, Spain and France's Rhône Valley as at Spago Beverly Hills, but they're edgier. Cayuse Syrah from Walla Walla is there, but Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet is not. The list is also organized differently, by grape variety instead of geography. "My philosophy is that organizing by varietal makes a wine list easier to navigate,"
DeSantos says. "Spago Beverly Hills has a different tradition."
Vert, Puck's newest fine dining property, opened in 2002. That list is more oriented to French and Italian wines than Californian, with a smattering of Austrian, Australian and New Zealand entries. There are no first-growth verticals, and only the occasional cult Cabernet. "It's not meant to be anything like Spago," says Klaus Puck. "The interest for me is to find small producers, but not too esoteric that people are turned off. You don't want every name to be something they've never heard of."
At his more convenience-oriented properties, the Wolfgang Puck Cafes and Wolfgang Puck Express outlets, Puck is looking toward wine by the glass. "We're not going to see a glass of wine for 16 or 18 dollars; that's not the place for that," Puck says. "But you should be able to walk in and get a glass of good, interesting red wine with your meal." Accordingly, the Cafes' lists will be as standardized as possible.
The Express properties are more problematic. While the Cafes are wholly owned by Puck's company, many of the Expresses are franchises. Some haven't been able to get liquor licenses because of local and state regulations. But wherever possible, Puck believes, wine should be a component of every meal at one of his restaurants. "Every wine has a place," Puck says now. "Of course, some are better than others."
Soon, for the first time in nearly two decades, Puck will have a place of his own for some carefully chosen bottles. He has asked the contractor building his new house to include a wine cellar. He doesn't consider himself a collector, not with so many trophy bottles at his command at the restaurants, but he would like to amass a selection of wines for personal consumption.
"I'm not going to go out and compete for Le Pin and Pétrus," he says "but some Austrian Rieslings that go so well with Asian food, some Châteauneuf-du-Papes, some Côte-Rôties, and the California Pinot Noirs, which have come such a long way. I think I drink more California Pinot these days than anything else. I could definitely see myself starting to collect a few of those, putting some wines away."
On a Saturday night early this year, Puck makes a rare venture away from his own properties for a dinner. He arrives at a hot new Los Angeles restaurant called Sona; the co-owner, Michelle Myers, once served as pastry chef at Spago. This is not unusual; alumni of Spago, Chinois and Postrio are the restaurant industry equivalent of winemakers with diplomas from the University of California at Davis. Campanile's Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel worked for Puck. So did Joseph Manzare of San Francisco's Globe, Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of St. Helena's Terra, David Gingrass of San Francisco's Hawthorne Lane, Makoto Tanaka of L.A.'s Mako, Jennifer Jasinski of Denver's Panzano, and many more.
A visit from Puck is an occasion. The hostess at Sona practically folds herself at the waist as she greets him. The appetizers start arriving as he is seated. The server is visibly agitated when Puck declines an offer to be served most of the menu.
The dinner that follows can be explicated as a post-Spago history of California cuisine. Even the single-page menu reminds Puck that when Spago opened, menus were tomes that presaged the seriousness of the experience that was about to commence.
Food arrives. It is carefully designed and full of compelling and delicious flavors. It is food that might have been served at Spago, once upon a time. But Puck has subtly changed his approach to cooking through the years. "You look at Mir-, all these painters, as they got older they wanted simple things," he says. "When younger, I was impressed by putting all these ingredients into one dish. Today I say, 'Nothing is better than the truth.' The young people today try to make it very complicated."
He smiles when he recalls some of the highly evolved meals he's had. "You go to Patina, they decant the water," he says. "I remember being at Aureole in New York when the architecture of the pastry plate was more important than the pastry. But, you know, after a certain point, it doesn't make the restaurant any better."
Along with his food, he's trying to simplify his personal life, which isn't so simple just now. When his sons, Cameron, 14, and Byron, 8, come to visit him in his room at The Peninsula, one has to sleep in the bed beside him. That's the price paid for a tempestuous marriage gone awry, and Puck acknowledges that his devotion to his restaurants is partly to blame.
"For me, my life is the restaurant." He's quiet for a moment. "Maybe that's why we're getting divorced."
The epiphany comes and goes, and soon he's visiting the Sona kitchen, the staff lined up to receive him. Puck smiles, shakes their hands, he's so good at one-on-one, but his mind is elsewhere. He can't help wondering what's happening at Spago, at Chinois, at other outposts of his empire. He has plans later in the night to see a woman he has met, a first step toward restoring balance to his life, but now he's wondering if maybe he shouldn't make one last trip back to Spago, just to see if a customer needs a handshake and a smile.
He's the most famous chef in America, and undoubtedly the richest, too, with nothing left to prove. He has checked the list and knows the VIPs have come and gone. Still, he can't stay away. It's just a few more minutes of his life, he thinks, and you never know. It might make a difference down the road.
Bruce Schoenfeld is a frequent contributor to Wine Spectator.
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