The care and feeding of celebrities reaches critical mass on Oscar night.
Two veteran caterers of the glitziest shindigs on Hollywood’s biggest night revealed some of the ins and outs of the process and, of course, some of what their well-known guests can expect.
“This year is going to be our 20th anniversary,” famed chef Wolfgang Puck said of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Ball, which will be hosted in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center just after and above where the 86th Academy Awards will be handed out today.
“So this year is not about the movies, it’s about our 20th anniversary,” Puck joked.
Actually, it’s about making the movie industry’s elite feel comfortable and satisfied, so Puck plans to continue a small plates approach begun at last year’s Governors Ball, which he feels is more conducive to hanging with your closest A-list pals rather than a sit-down dinner.
“Who needs another boring banquet?” Puck reckons. “They want to be able to party. You want to sit with your friends, with the people you do the same things as. We’ll have all our maitre d’s and managers at the front door of the ballroom, and we reserve a section of the dining room so that, when we know that Barbra Streisand has come and she has 10 people, we can give her this table to be with her friends. Or, if Marty Scorsese comes with six people, when Clint Eastwood or somebody else like that walks in, we seat them at the same table so they have something to talk about.”
GRILLED RAISIN BREAD CHEESE SANDWICHES WITH GORGONZOLA, MARSCAPONE, ASIAN PEARS 3 SANDWICHES = 1 DOZEN HORS D’ OUEVRES
6 SLICES OF THIN SLICED RAISIN BREAD
3 OZ. MARSCAPONE CHEESE
3 OZ. GORGONZOLA CHEESE
1 ASIAN PEAR PEELED, CORED, SLICED THIN
2 OZ. BUTTER FOR PAN GRILLING
PLACE 6 SLICES OF RAISIN BREAD ON WORK TABLE.
SPREAD THE MARSCAPONE CHEESE EVENLY ON ALL SLICES
SPRINKLE THE GORGONZOLA EVENLY ON 3 OF THE RAISIN BREAD SLICES.
ON TOP OF THE CHEESE PLACE 3 SLICES OF PEAR.
PLACE THE OTHER SLICE ON TOP AND CLOSE THE SANDWICH.
IN A SAUTE PAN MELT 2 OZ. OF BUTTER AND OVER LOW TO MEDIUM HEAT GRILL THE SANDWICHES ON BOTH SIDES TILL GOLDEN BROWN.
TO SERVE: TRIM THE EDGES OFF THE SANDWICHES AND CUT INTO A CRISS CROSS TO FORM 4 LITTLE TRIANGLE PIECES. PLATE, SERVE AND GARNISH WITH FRESH HERBS.
Chef Wayne Elias, the leading man behind the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards viewing party, also known as the most successful fundraising Hollywood event on Oscar night, puts best food before best picture. For the past 10 years, Elias has been pleasing the palates of stars from Helen Mirren to Britney Spears. And when it comes to Oscar grub, Elias loves transforming beloved comfort foods into decadent treats. Case in point? Ooey gooey grilled cheese. Elias’ take, the richly indulgent grilled raisin bread cheese sandwich, features hearty servings of creamy gorgonzola cheese, buttery mascarpone and juicy Asian pears for a touch of sweetness.
“These sandwiches are not only delish, but they are easy to prep ahead of time, and then heat them in the oven, cut, and serve,” Elias says. “The flavors of the raisin bread with the blue cheese and mascarpone are so mouthwatering and the Asian pear gives them a nice sweet flavor. And really, who does not like grilled cheese?”
For 10 years Chef Wayne Elias and his business partner Chris Diamond at Crumble Catering have dished it up for a cavalcade of stars at the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party.
Held in West Hollywood Park, Chef Wayne and his Crumble Catering team collaborated again with Chef Gordon Ramsay, creating the perfect dining experience for Hollywood’s biggest night.
The menu for this year’s event, which was hosted by Sir Elton John and David Furnish and raised $5.1 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS, featured five delicious courses delivered flawlessly by Chef Wayne and his Crumble Catering team of more than 200 cooks, servers and bartenders.
Guests enjoyed appetizers such as Chef Wayne’s Famous Grilled Raisin Bread Sandwiches with mascarpone, gorgonzola and Asian pears; entrees including Citrus Steamed Sea Bass with grapefruit, lemon and lime; as well as Grilled New York Steak and Truffle Fingerling Potatoes with parmesan and cream spinach; along with a variety of scintillating desserts like Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake with Huckleberry Sauce and Lavender Ice Cream.
By Alesandra Dubin – Buzbash.com February 27, 2012
Call it Hollywood drama: The 84th annual Academy Awards took to the Kodak Theatre last night, only it’s not called the Kodak anymore. The bankrupt company pulled out of its naming-rights contract earlier this month, so for now the venue is known generically as the Hollywood & Highland Theater. Among the other changes to the big night was the insertion of Billy Crystal as host, after Eddie Murphy pulled out of hosting duties following original producer Brett Ratner’s resignation. (Ratner did so under heavy pressure after making gay slurs last year.)
But here’s something that didn’t change significantly on Oscar night: There wasn’t a major shake-up in importance of the biggest and most buzzed-about events: the Governors Ball hosted by the Academy after the show, Vanity Fair‘s viewing bash, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation fund-raiser. All three galas were back on the scene commanding their typical A-list attendance and frenzy of media attention (albeit with some format and venue changes). Some guests at these events also made their way to Madonna’s well-known annual party, which this year was not co-hosted with Demi Moore, who has been tending to her own much-publicized issues.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing bash, produced by V Productions, moved to a new location this year: the redesigned West Hollywood Park. The event’s guest count ballooned to 890 from last year’s 750 and offered a five-course dinner from chef Cat Cora with support from Crumble Catering. Given that West Hollywood hasn’t even opened the park yet, it stopped construction in order to keep the prestigious party within the city limits after its move from the Pacific Design Center. Chopard, Neuro, and Wells Fargo sponsored, and Foster the People performed. The fund-raising event took in $5.25 million, thanks in part to auction items like the opportunity to join John and husband David Furnish at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, which fetched $230,000.