Interview with WP24 Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes

Posted on Aug 17, 2011 under Archives, Chefs, Interviews | No Comment
WP24 Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes

WP24 Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes

I recently dined at WP24 downtown, Wolfgang Puck’s Asian fusion modern restaurant on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton downtown.  I sat down with Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes after sampling about a dozen dishes at the LA Live hotspot to chat about food, working at  Wolfgang Puck’s latest LA venture, and her philosophy on cooking.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Johannes’ passion for the culinary arts was nurtured at an early age by her great-grandmother Rosa, who taught Johannes to forage for ingredients and cook seasonally from a bountiful kitchen garden.   As she grew up and increasingly became aware of her calling as a chef, Johannes found great inspiration traveling the world and exploring destinations through their local cuisine and food traditions.

Embarking on a culinary journey to refine her craft, Johannes enrolled in Saint Paul College where she received her Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Upon graduation she took a position as line cook at The Nicollet Island Inn, where she honed skills in sauces, butchery and pastry production.  The following year, Johannes became the line cook at Lucia’s Restaurant and Wine Bar, where she trained under James Beard-Nominated Chef, Lucia Watson, whose cooking emphasized organic ingredients and natural flavors.

Johannes joined the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group in 2005 as Sous Chef of 20.21 in Minneapolis.  Upon joining the 20.21 team, Johannes was quickly taken under the wing of Managing Partner and Executive Corporate Chef of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Lee Hefter.  Johannes also staged at Puck’s legendary restaurants Spago Beverly Hills and Chinois on Main in 2006, while helping Puck cater the Governor’s Ball at the Oscars in 2007.  She then made the move to open Puck’s first Dallas restaurant, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, as Executive Chef.

Since joining the Wolfgang Puck team, Johannes has spent time perfecting Puck’s philosophy of fresh ingredients and big flavor, executed in each kitchen with high standards and methodology.  As Chef de Cuisine of WP24, Johannes fulfills a six-year-long culinary exploration of Asian cuisine with a menu that epitomizes haute modern Chinese cooking.


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