January 9, 2014 |

Throwback Thursday: Puck on Pizza in November 1987

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

Nov1987coverIn 1987, Wolfgang Puck was just about as big a name as you could get in the culinary world. And we did … Puck headlined “The Breakfast of Champions” at International Pizza Expo in December of that year.

Puck is largely credited for making pizza a star at his L.A. restaurant, Spago. His signature dish, a house-smoked salmon pizza, was pretty ahead of its time. Salmon on a pizza? It’s still not as mainstream today as, say, pepperoni or chicken, but it has found its place on many menus as more operators focus on artisan ingredients.

In 1987, Puck was still an independent restaurant operator making a name for himself in a culinary world that was still undefined and had just broken into the frozen food segment. Today, of course, he has a global brand that includes fast casual units and fine dining, a line of housewares and appearances on numerous television shows.

International Pizza Expo is still bringing in big names to headline its shows. In the past, attendees have had chances to see Julia Childs, Oliver North, Tommy LaSorda, John Schnatter of Papa John’s, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas and Food Network star Robert Irvine. This year, the show will bring in Donatella Arpaia, a celebrity chef and judge of Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and Sal Basile and Francis Garcia, owners of Artichoke Basille Pizza and hosts of Cooking Channel’s The Pizza Cuz show. Arpaia will speak on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, while Basile and Garcia will present Wednesday, March 24, 2014. Click here for more information on attending International Pizza Expo 2014!

We’re already planning Pizza Expo 2015. Who would you like to see at next year’s show?