Entrenched in the middle of Los Angeles’ downtown skyline is one of the city’s more interesting celebrity chef hot spots: Chef Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 Restaurant and Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. Not only do the floor-to-ceiling windows provide 360-degree views of the city, but the private event spaces can host a slew of culinary activities that jump off the pages of the Chinese-inspired menu.
The restaurant staff works with planners to customize the group experience, which includes anything from a cooking demonstration to a hands-on, teambuilding dessert challenge, according to Anthony Olheiser, director of F&B for the 123-room Ritz-Carlton. Meeting planners can choose to host a cocktail party in the rooftop garden, for instance, where attendees can sip on cocktails made from the ingredients growing in the surrounding space. Or they can opt for attendees to gather in the WP24 Lounge for a customized wine pairing.
“The WP24 director of beverage will coordinate with both the executive chef and event planner to determine a selection of pairings that work well with the menu but can also adhere to specific preferences like regional varietals and budget,” says Olheiser.
The menu doesn’t disappoint either and lends itself to further attendee engagement. Peking Duck, for example, is the restaurant’s signature dish. It is first presented whole to the guests, then carved tableside and served with traditional accompaniments such as steamed mini bao buns, pickled daikon, scallions, ginger sugar and house-made hoisin sauce.
“This interactive dish in an unforgettable experience for WP24 patrons,” says Olheiser.
Additional dishes such as the chinois-style Chinese chicken salad, miso-sake-glazed cod with cold sesame noodles, Hong Kong-style soft noodles with wild mushrooms and Singapore-style chili prawns with blue crab appease the needs of the customer, while also giving the restaurant’s culinary team an opportunity to work with fresh ingredients.
“Both event planners and traditional restaurant patrons are interested in sustainability and locally produced ingredients, so the WP24 menu incorporates a large amount of regionally sourced items,” says Olheiser. “Our chefs are always focused on seasonality and using fresh produce. We are also seeing more groups that enjoy a shared or ‘family style’ tasting menu, which allows for more interaction and engagement during a meal.”
For daytime events, the restaurant can accommodate up to 80 attendees for a meeting and buffet-style breakfast or lunch. In the evening, up to 400 guests can gather for a cocktail reception and up to 115 for a seated dinner. For smaller groups, private and semi-private spaces are available.