Wolfgang Puck Makes a Big Fort Worth Move, Shaking Up Museum Dining

W.olfgang Puck is one of America’s most outstanding celebrity chefs. The Austrian-born globetrotter has an abundance of branded restaurants to thank – especially his franchise companies Spago and CUT as well as many self-proclaimed restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grills and Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bars at hotspots all over the world.

Now Puck is making his first trip to Fort Worth and takes over the restaurant and catering in the Cafe Modern in the Modern Art Museum. Starting this spring, Wolfgang Puck Catering will take over the management of all food and beverage establishments in the Cafe Modern.

Wolfgang’s last restaurant in Dallas, Five Sixty By Wolfgang Puck, which took over the tallest seat of the Reunion Tower in 2009, closed its doors in March 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 shutdown. But Puck’s catering continued at a number of notable Dallas venues, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Nasher Sculpture Center.

“We are fortunate to have been part of the Texan culinary landscape for the past 13 years, and we are excited to expand our presence in the state with our new partnership with modernity,” said Drew Swanson, Texas Regional Chef at Wolfgang Puck Catering According to a statement.

Café Modern surrounded by a reflecting pool.

Denise Shavandy, the longtime chef at Cafe Modern, recently announced that she has parted ways with the stylish restaurant. California-based hotel management company Bon Appetit has been in operation since the Tadao Ando-designed museum and on-site restaurant overlooking the gorgeous reflective pool, which originally opened in 2002.

For Shavandy, her next step will be to start a new culinary company called Spork & Spice. The well-traveled chef is known for her multicultural cuisine and fascinating menu pairings that touch everything from Mexico City to Middle Eastern and Asian food. Spork & Spice hosts pop-up dinners and cooking classes, and posts food programs on YouTube.

Wolfgang’s new world

Meanwhile, one of the most important museums in North Texas is entering a new food future.

“Wolfgang Puck Catering brings an international reputation for excellence to Cafe Modern and we look forward to working with your team,” says Marla Price, director of the Modern Art Museum.

Café Modern’s new chef Jett Mora.

Puck’s new culinary team at Cafe Modern is headed by Chef Jett Mora, a veteran of the realm of celebrity chefs.

Mora worked for years with Wolfgang and his team of chefs to create menus for weddings, special occasions and company galas. This includes some major events like the famous Oscars Governors Ball.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mora moved to Fort Worth earlier this year and was already busy diving into the local food scene. Mora has already established relationships with local farmers and suppliers and will create seasonal menus using ingredients sourced from Texas.

At Cafe Modern, Mora will work with the restaurant’s general manager, Roxanne Mclarry, who has been with the museum for 17 years.

Photo by Puck’s CUT on 45 Park Lane, London.

Cafe Modern, which has been closed since the COVID shutdowns last year, is slated to reopen in the spring.

In turn, the restaurant offers weekday lunch, Friday happy hour, Friday dinner, and weekend brunch with both indoor and outdoor seating. Mora’s menus feature home-style cooking with global influences and a drinks program featuring local spirits.

Another focus for the Wolfgang Puck team will be to bring their expertise to the catering events at The Modern Art Museum.

This is a bold move for the Modern Art Museum, which is increasing its catering and event performance along with a fresh, new restaurant.

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