That restaurateur was Wolfgang Puck. And in 1982, Spago, would become synonymous with Beverly Hills opulence, a fine dining den of celebrities and executives who flocked for an exclusive taste of dishes like smoked salmon pizza served with sides of caviar. It grabbed headlines and became a symbol of elite dining. LaDou's star rose.
There were, of course, copycats, but for the most part, the California pizza trend was seen as snobby, unattainable. But in 1985, that all changed, and once again LaDou was front and center.
When attorneys Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax were set to open their first California Pizza Kitchen in 1985, they ran into a massive hurdle: they lost their chef. Somehow, they coaxed LaDou out of the star-studded Spago kitchen to design their menu, which included familiar combinations but also something seemingly unheard of: barbecue chicken pizza, with BBQ sauce instead of marinara.