David Gelb Reveals What It Was Like To Work With Wolfgang Puck - Exclusive

Between running his production company — Supper Club — and coming up with the concept of "Chef's Table," David Gelb is a creative visionary that has taken storytelling to new heights. While his shows like "Chef's Table" and "Street Food" obviously center around the culinary side of life, Gelb has also made it his mission to dig deeper rather than simply scratch the surface of what he brings to the screen.

During an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Gelb said, "We are approaching it as art, and we're helping the audience see it that way because of the context and the emotion that goes behind it. The fancy cinematography and lighting and lensing can only take us so far ... What gives us the most satisfaction is selecting great characters with powerful stories." His focus on story is an approach he also brought to "Wolfgang," a documentary about one of his favorite chefs.

Getting the chance to collaborate with his hero

It's rare that we have the opportunity to work with our heroes. But for David Gelb, that is a dream that ultimately came true. "Wolfgang Puck [has] been a hero to me for a long time, since I was a kid, maybe 12 or 13 years old," said Gelb. And while meeting the people you look up to can sometimes end in disappointment, his early encounter with the famous chef only cemented Gelb's admiration further. "My dad took me to Spago on a trip to California that I was tagging along with him on, and I knew who [Puck] was," said Gelb. "I'd seen him on TV, and he comes to every single table, including ours, and introduces himself and makes you feel so special."

In fact, that interaction is what ultimately led Gelb on the food-centric journey that his career has taken. "Feeling special in a restaurant is something that I think subconsciously drove me to continue loving food, wanting to eat out, and ultimately making 'Jiro [Dreams of Sushi],' 'Chef's Table,' et cetera," explained Gelb. "It was an amazing thing to come full circle and quite an honor that he allowed me to make this film about him."

Going beyond the surface-level story

True to his favored style of filmmaking, David Gelb didn't want "Wolfgang" to be just a basic profile of the famous chef. He explained that he felt the responsibility to tell Wolfgang Puck's story as truthfully as possible for the documentary, including the parts of his life that hadn't been explored in public before. "I had a frank conversation [with Puck]. I was like, 'We're going to talk about some of the more difficult parts of your life. Are you willing to go there?' He wanted to go there," Gelb told us. "We were showing a new side of him and something that people hadn't seen."

This willingness to go to deeper places made the documentary so much more profound and moving, which is exactly what both Gelb and Puck were going for. "It's something that he wanted to do because he didn't want people to think that he just came from Austria and went straight to the Oscars," Gelb explained. "He wanted people to know that you can come from a very difficult situation, and through a combination of perseverance, luck, and preparation, be ready to seize the luck when it comes."

All episodes of Gelb's recent project, "Chef's Table: Pizza," are now available to watch on Netflix.