(AWMB, July 2010) – Wolfgang Puck, one of the most talented and renowned chefs in the world, brought a touch of Hollywood to this year’s SALON Austrian Wine Awards Gala Dinner, which was held on June 30th at Platinum, in the sparkling new UNIQA Tower in Vienna. The guest star chef presented a mouthwatering array of dishes that he had designed and prepared for the special event, which honoured 25 Austrian winemakers whose wines had triumphed in the country’s toughest wine competition – SALON Austrian Wine.

SALON Logo 2010Joining Puck were Austria’s Minister of the Economy, Reinhold Mitterlehner, and the general manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Willi Klinger, in making the evening a glittering success. Mitterlehner and Klinger presented the 25 SALON Champion (winners in their categories) and SALON Selected (nominated through wine magazines and sommeliers) awards to the winning winemakers More than 7000 wines had been entered into the SALON competition, with 260 of them chosen as SALON Austrian Wines through a tough process of blind tastings.

Wolfgang Puck had travelled with his team from California to Austria for the elegant event, which was attended by the SALON winners and guests of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board amongst others.

“I’m very happy to be cooking for the first time in Austria and to honour the ‘Oscars of the wines’,” said the enthusiastic Puck. “Austrian wines have fascinated me for many years, which is why many of them are on the wine lists of my restaurants. The wines fit perfectly to my style of cooking, which often reflects Asian influences.”

With the SALON Austrian Wine Awards Gala Dinner, Puck has added another distinction to his impressive resumé. Born in the Austrian state of Carinthia (Kärnten), he began cooking for the Hollywood film world 35 years ago and built a stellar reputation in the 1980s with the legendary Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. Today, Puck heads an empire of 70 restaurants throughout the United States and Asia – from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas to Tokyo – and has more than 5000 employees working for him.

For the last 17 years, Wolfgang Puck has been responsible for the official dinner held in honour of the annual Oscar awards in Los Angeles.

SALON Austrian Wine – the Toughest Wine Competition in Austria

The SALON Austrian Wine competition is Austria’s toughest. It is based on more than 7000 wines made by both established and up-and-coming Austrian wineries, whose wines had been entered in state competitions in Niederösterreich, Burgenland, Steiermark and Vienna. There, the wines are placed in specifically defined categories. They then undergo further blind tastings conducted by specially educated, state-certified wine tasters, a process that culminates in the selection of the best of the best – the highly prized SALON Austrian Wine Awards  wines.

Adds Willi Klinger: “For many years, we have invited the best chefs to the SALON Austrian Wine Awards Gala Dinner. And now, after having Jörg Wörther from Austria, Vreni Giger from Switzerland and Joachim Wissler from Germany, we have another star chef – Wolfgang Puck – who has further enhanced the reputation of SALON Austrian Wine as the hardest wine competition.”

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