Ever wondered what the world’s collected movie stars and cinematic elite get to eat at the Academy awards? Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has rustled up a menu for Sunday’s after ceremony dinner that is bound to pose a tasting test for those who have shimmied their way into superslim dresses and too-tight tux. With over fifty dishes on offer, a few buttons may have to be undone to tuck into a mini Wagyu burger or a pot of Mac cheese.
Of course, it’s not just a common or garden Mac cheese. Wolfgang Puck’s version of the popular creamy noodle dish is topped with the uber-expensive rare black truffle. It’s an Academy Award winning Mac Cheese. Puck is a fan of adding some extra ingredients to the standard recipe, he recommends chicken or mushrooms to jazz it up and make it into a star for a night.
Vegans like Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway are all catered for with speciailities like taro root tacos with avocado and butternut squash with wild rice and faro. To wash that down they can enjoy a carrot orange gazpacho shot.
Meanwhile the carnivores can choose from fried chicken with white grits, lobster five spice dumplings or Puck’s signature dish of chicken pot pie that is also topped with shavings of black truffle. Another meaty masterpiece is his short rib with Shanghai lobster, goulash and spaetzle. He always creates Oscar statues out of smoked salmon laid on flatbreads.
To feast like a film star, you too could make some Bolognese stuffed rice balls or put some spiced tuna tartare in a sesame miso cone, as Puck will be doing.
For desserts there are citrus panna cottas with chocolate popcorn, this is the movies after all; or strawberry cheesecake pops, and there will be a spectacular cake to commomorate the chef’s 20th year in a row of masterminding the food at the Governor’s Ball. This is going to be a French style Marjolaine cake, cut out to show its layers of hazlenut sponge, chocolate ganache and coffee cream. Individual caramel gardens are one of the more awesome sweet creations, also worthy of an art design award. They feature tress made out of chocolate malt set in a coffee “soil” with fleur de sel.
It can’t be an easy event to organize, by any standards, and it must be disappointing for any chef when he sees his food go untouched by so many who do not deign to eat more than a morsel. But a lot of them will have been up since the crack of dawn getting ready, given the famously early start time of the Oscars, and will doubtless be starving by the time they get to the groaning tables of delicacies. Puck reminisces how some stars regularly come back for seconds, like Danny de Vito who really likes his paella.
This could be why comfort food gets such a look in, with dates wrapped in bacon, and pretzels sprinkled with pimento cheese, just like Grandma would have made. Another homely touch will be baked potatoes, but these ones will be stuffed with caviar.
The 1,500 VIPs, whether celebrating, commiserating, or grating their teeth and pretending not to mind not having the problem of where to put their prized Oscar as they are eating – it’s hard enough to manage with a glass in one hand – will all have the compensation of a golden chocolate Oscar of their own. As Puck likes to say “With us, everyone’s a winner.”
The shopping bill is as eye-catching as the glittering ceremony. Puck orders 800 pounds of lobster alone. He will have used 300 quarts of milk, 5,000 cage free eggs and 10 pounds of edible gold dust by the time he hangs up his apron on Sunday night, and all of this will be accompanied by over 2,400 bottles of wine from the Sterling vineyards. He will only use sustainable seafood and he likes to give everything a Californian twist. All guests start with a nice healthy salad of pureed apple and celery with an orange vinaigrette to refresh their palates.
Daniel Boulud, of the famed New York restaurant, Daniel has invented a Red Carpet cocktail which you may wish to emulate if you are having an Academy awards viewing party. He will be mixing 1 oz each of vodka and bergamot juice, with 2 tablespoons of pear jam, a teaspoon of ground galangal root, 1 egg white and half an ounce of simple syrup. Shake it all up, add ice and strain into a martini glass before spraying with some bitters.
If you want to munch like the movie stars at the Academy Awards, then all you have to do is cook up a good old Mac Cheese for your own A list crowd. What they eat at the Oscars, it turns out, may be not that different from what we eat at home. Just with more gold dust.
By Kate Henderson