Oscars 2014: Wolfgang Puck, Wayne Elias talk catering the night’s biggest parties

Wolfgang Puck Crumble Carering Chef Wayne

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.”

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Studio 11 LA Guest Chef Wayne Elias

Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

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

PROCEDURE:
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.

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Celebrate the Oscars with Celebrity-Preferred Grilled Cheese

Chef Wayne Elias Crumble Catering

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?”

Our thoughts exactly.

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This Years Biggest Question at The OSCARS… “Who Are You Eating???”

Chef Wayne Elias Elton John Oscar Party Crumble Catering

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.

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Oscar Party Report: Inside Events From ‘Vanity Fair,’ Elton John, the Governors Ball, ‘Maxim,’ ‘Essence,’ the Weinstein Company, and More

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.

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Elton John AIDS Foundation Viewing and After-Party

The Elton John AIDS Foundation celebrated its 20th annual viewing party at the newly redesigned West Hollywood Park, a change of venue from its usual haunt, the Pacific Design Center. Virginia Fout of V Productions produced the event, which this year got a blue, nautical-inspired look with design by Antony Todd. 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 sold for $230,000. Chef Cat Cora, supported by Crumble Catering, prepared a five-course meal for guests that included sesame-encrusted lamb meatballs with harissa yogurt, sautéed sea bass with lemon couscous and piquillo pepper saffron sauce, and chocolate budino with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for EJAF

Original Slideshow

Elton John AIDS Foundation and an Oscar viewing party

By Jennifer Toth – Examiner.com
FEBRUARY 26, 2012

Who can have an Oscar Viewing Party and celebrate a 20th anniversary in style? Sir Elton John, of course. Tonight’s Oscar Viewing party will also be combined with his celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

And Sir Elton is not sparing any expense. According to TMZ, the price per person is $3,500!! Chef Wayne Elias is catering this party for the 8th year.

Here is the menu:

  • Roasted Tomato “Raisins” with Bocconcini, Bloody Mary Vinaigrette and Basque-Rubbed Grilled Prawn
  • Sesame-Encrusted Lamb Meatball with Harissa Yogurt, White Bean-Tahini Puree and Crisp Mint
  • Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Peperonata Rustica & Chimichurri Sauce with Leek Bread Pudding and Spicy Broccoli Rabe OR Sautéed Sea Bass with Lemon Cous-Cous and Piquillo Pepper Saffron Sauce with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts OR Tricolore Salad of Endive, Rocket and Radicchio with Pistachio Vinaigrette and Shaved Truffled Pecorino
  • Chocolate Budino with Ginger Crème Anglaise and Fresh Berries & Apple and Pear Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce and Chantilly

Chef Elias is honored to help The Elton John AIDS Foundation, ” It is a very passionate part of my being to help raise money and the needs that people with HIV/Aids need to survive and live normal lives.”

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Plan the perfect Oscar party with tips and recipes from Wolfgang Puck, Moet & Chandon Champagne, and Wayne Elias.

By Xtina – Wheremagazine.com
FEBRUARY 24, 2012

If you’re planning your own Oscar party, start cooking now. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck says the biggest mistake people make is leaving all the food prep and cooking until the last minute. He says creating comfort food similar to what is being served at the Governor’s Ball is easy. You can gather your ingredients and prep your dishes a day or two ahead of time, then and cook them on Sunday just before you’re ready to serve. Find our picks for top Oscar Party recipes below, and for more Oscar Party tips, link to download the official app and ballot for your party go to: oscar.go.com

COCKTAIL

Red Carpet Glamour
Create the very same Moet & Chandon Champagne cocktails that celebs will be sipping at the Governors Ball:

  • Fill a chilled Champagne flute 1/2 way with ice.
  • Stir one ounce of fresh-squeezed sour mix and Hum botanical spirit with fresh ice.
  • Strain into flute to fill 1/2 way.
  • Top with Moet & Chandon Imperial.
  • Continually refresh as you wish with Moet & Chandon Imperial as the Champagne will float on top of the Hum sour.

Fresh squeeze sour mix preparation: Combine one cup sugar with one cup water until sugar is completely dissolved. Add one cup fresh lime juice and one cup fresh lemon juice and refrigerate.

STARTER

Chinese Spoons with Siracha Tuna Tartare, Daikon Sprouts
(Recipe courtesy of Wayne Elias, co-owner with Chris Diamond of Los Angeles-based Crumble Catering and Vermont Bar and Kitchen, who both will support celebrity chef Cat Cora with creating the food for the 20th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation’s (EJAF) Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party.)

2 Dozen Servings

  • 10 ounces of fresh ahi tuna sushi grade
  • 1 tsp. siracha sauce
  • 2 tblsp. Light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Finely diced ginger
  • 1 tsp. Finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 cup of daikon sprouts- use only the flower sprout and a little stem

Mix all ingredients in a bowl except the sesame seeds and the daikon sprouts.

Adjust seasoning to taste. Please in each Chinese spoon ½ ounce of tuna mixture and garnish top with daikon sprout.

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Behind the Scenes at Elton John’s Oscar Party

By Trudy Ring – Advocate.com
FEBRUARY 24 2012

All over the nation, people are getting ready for Oscar-night parties. But not everyone is expecting 900 guests, like gay Los Angeles chef and caterer Wayne Elias.

Elias is in his eighth year of catering the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards Viewing Party, one of the most stellar events of the season and one that raises much-needed funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, plus efforts to fight stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.

For Elias, executive chef of Crumble Catering and the restaurants Vermont and Rockwell Vt. (all co-owned with Chris Diamond), the gig is an opportunity to work for a cause that’s extremely important to him. “I have lost friends and lovers to the disease and have been passionate about the cause for 25 years,” he says.

Sir Elton has become one of the cause’s major benefactors. His U.S. foundation, established in 1992, and its U.K. counterpart, set up in 1993, have raised more than $225 million for projects in 55 countries to date. The Oscar party, a major source of those funds, draws a crowd that includes many top celebrities to enjoy fabulous food in a sumptuous setting.

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Oscar Party Tips From a Catering Expert, and a Finger Food Recipe

by Lesley Balla – KCET
February 23, 2012


Fancy grilled cheese finger sandwiches

When the world turns to Hollywood for Oscar Week buzz, we turn to the parties. Specifically our own viewing parties and what we’ll serve because we, like the majority of the world, will never walk the red carpet in front of the Kodak Theater, nor will we attend any of the splashy after parties to nibble and nosh with celebrities. But we can look to the caterers who feed them for ideas.

In addition to the main fetes –The Governor’s Ball, which Wolfgang Puck has catered for 18 years, and the Vanity Fair shindig — another biggie of the night is the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, which has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS research, education and outreach for more than 20 years. And for the last eight years, Wayne Elias and Chris Diamond, and their company, have been in charge of the food.

The two, who also own Vermont Kitchen & Bar in Los Feliz, plan and create menus for the pre- and post-receptions of the night. The main dinner is generally hosted by a celebrity chef — this year it’s Cat Cora — which Crumble also helps prepare. They also take care of service throughout the night. Yes, these guys know how to throw a party.

Elias says that anything can wow when you start with great ingredients. “Serve dishes that are comforting but also creative,” he adds. He suggests keeping to things that can be served at room temperature or cold: that way you won’t be stuck in the kitchen while your friends are deciding whether they like Michelle Williams’ dress or not, or when Clooney makes yet another joke at Brad Pitt’s expense.

He also keeps his menus approachable. While he serves beef tenderloin with leek bread pudding, or grilled sea bass with saffron sauce for the main dinner, he sticks to elevated comfort food for the after party: sliders, flatbread pizzas, onion rings, red velvet cupcakes and olive oil tea cakes are always hits.

His raisin bread finger sandwiches filled with mascarpone, gorgonzola and sweet Asian pear, basically a fancy grilled cheese, have been an Elton John party favorite for the last six years. Although the ingredients sound lavish, the savory-sweet sandwiches are super easy to make at home. Bonus: You can even serve it for a party of one.

Mascarpone, Gorgonzola and Pear Finger Sandwiches

Recipe adapted from Crumble Catering
Makes 1 sandwich, or 4-6 triangles

2 slices raisin bread, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 Asian pear, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter

Place the bread on a cutting board and spread the mascarpone cheese on both sides, then place the Asian pear slices on 1 side, follow with the crumble gorgonzola cheese. Cover with the other slice, cheese side down.

In a pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter bubbles, add the sandwich and cook on one side until golden brown. Add the rest of the butter and flip the sandwich, cooking the other side until golden brown. If the cheese hasn’t full melted, turn off the heat and cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes.

To serve, trim the crust off of the sandwich and cut into triangles or cut into large squares.

[Photo by Lesley Balla]

Original Article