Wolfgang Puck - 2008
When Austria-born Wolfgang Puck arrived in the United States in 1973, he knew little about America, and Americans knew nothing about him. His first triumph was Spago, a casual restaurant that opened in 1982 on a remote stretch of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Building on that success, he established a restaurant empire that now stretches from Washington, D.C., to Hawaii. Along the way, Puck became deeply involved with a wide range of philanthropic activities, providing meals to the needy and raising funds to fight diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. For his impact on American food and wine and his extensive charitable work, Puck receives Wine Spectator's 2008 Distinguished Service Award.