How would you like to snack tonight on Beef Wellington, wood-fired pizza or poached pear with burrata, pear butter and arugula? Maybe you’d like to snag a soy-marinated deviled egg or endive with Ma Maison chicken salad from a passed hors d’oeuvre tray, then round out your evening with Basque cheesecake or chocolate caramel flan.
All this and more will be served tonight following the Oscars. After the awards,1500 nominees (both winners and not winners) and guests will gather upstairs in the Ray Dolby Ballroom for a feast at the Governors Ball. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is catering the event this year as he has done for the past 29.
Puck is an old hand at feeding his fellow celebs. This year he called upon Elliott Grover, chef at his new American-style steakhouse in London, CUT at 45 Park Lane, to bring a little British sensibility (and perhaps decorum) to the event .
Grover is adding British classics – recognizable, but considerably gussied up – for the posh crowd. For fish and chips, a small spear of batter-fried cod and a couple of chips (fries to us) will be served in a cone for easy eating and garnished with pea purée and an array of sauces.
For reasons that have passed into history, chicken pot pie has been a standard on the Oscars menu for over ten years. Grover is kicking it up with all white meat, a sealed pastry crust that rises to a dome as the pie bakes, and a generous shaving of black truffles on top.
A classic English trifle with a dollop of fruit jelly, covered by layers of custard and cream all topped with a maraschino cherry will be served for dessert in individual glass jugs. What could be more British than that?
No one will go hungry. There’s a carving station, the obligatory charcuterie and cheese display, and an army of servers passing all manner of temptation.
The Oscars have been losing television viewers for the last few years, victim, I’m guessing, of so many competing media and entertainment options. Movie theaters are struggling to find an audience, competing with a host of vendors both streaming and online. It’s a clamoring world pushing movies to the side.
Still, Marsha and I always seem to get sucked into the glamor and fancy clothes. It’s not often you see all those famous faces and boldface names in one place. Yes, the speeches are lame. (It’s easy to separate the stage actors from the movie folks by their delivery.) But if you didn’t watch last year, you missed the slap heard round the world and the unkind comment that provoked it.
I wish they would have the camera at the Ball to watch those assembled graze, see which goodies are the most popular and observe any one who might dribble fish and chips down their tux.
Even better, I’d watch all day if there was play by play as the ballroom was set for the party and the crew of over 100 chefs frantically prepared this repast. That would be a real show.
If there’s not enough time between reading this and tonight’s broadcast to rustle up some smoked salmon Oscars matzah, truffle- blanketed chicken pot pie, and Grover’s trifle, just improvise. A Stouffer’s chicken pot pie, a package of smoked salmon, and some premium ice cream with a good chocolate sauce will fill the bill.
Gwendolyn Yates-Whittle, sound editor on Avatar: The Way of Water, is a nominee for Best Sound. She’s also married to Marsha’s cousin, so we have some skin in the game this year. But when the dust settles, I’m going to ask her how she liked the food.
Great to hear you guys have family ties to the Oscars. Are there other family members musicaaly inclied?