Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has arrived in Sydney from LA to push his US$180,000 application bid to own the .food top level domain name which will brand his restaurant empire.
Puck will today lobby the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Sydney hoping to claim the illustrious top level domain (TLD) name which will be one of about 500 new domains released by the Internet administrator.
The new generic TLDs are an initiative of the non-profit ICANN which coordinates Internet Web addresses. Under current rules, approved local registrars hand out addresses in cooperation with ICANN.
Austrian-born Puck, a chef of 45 years, would use .food for online branding to cover his 70 upscale restaurants, 60 cafes, and catering and kitchen goods supply businesses, and the Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation.
“We do a lot of work with underprivileged children, schools and the homeless... if someone wants to be a part of [.food] and they have charitable intentions, then we will consider allowing them,” Puck said.
While Puck conceded the application fee was expensive, he refuted the speculated cost of €5 million required to operate a new TLD for the first two years.
“We wouldn't stay in business if you had to spend that kind of money! The restaurant business is tough enough,” Puck said.
Minds and Machines CEO Antony Van Couvering, who is assisting Puck's bid, said the operating cost is “much less than half” of the reported TLD operating cost, but stopped short of naming a figure.
He said the registration infrastructure is already in place and should not add excessive costs on top of ICANN's assessment fees.
Puck an an entourage of LA chefs will host a dinner tomorrow night in Sydney on the back of the ICANN conference which runs this week, and visit local celebrity chef and friend Neil Perry.
He said he is not aware of other contenders for the .food domain.