Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey and Wolfgang Puck…
While you might be reading this thinking “I thought there were only five nominees per category”, Wolfgang Puck has been invited to attend the Academy Awards since 1994. If this is the first time you’ve heard his name, well, don’t be ashamed. Whilst he has had a few on screen appearances, his Oscar winning performance is always done at the Governor’s Ball – the after party for the Oscars and their nominees. Whilst you are served a few courses throughout the duration of the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards are known for their canapés and champagne post announcements.
Wolfgang Puck has been a celebrated chef since 1981, and launched his first book, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen, based on his recipes whilst aged 24 at Ma Maison. The awards start with a formal sit down table d’ hote menu and in 2011 switched to elegant small bites that are hand passed by Puck and his team of fellow Michelin chefs.
“The first year we catered the Academy Awards party, I thought I would make something special,” said Puck. “We decided to put solid gold-covered chocolate Oscars on top of small chocolate cakes, and it became such a big hit that people were taking the Oscars off the cakes and leaving with them. So we decided to make them every year.”
This chocolate item has become the signature of the event. What once was a Oscar embellished coin is now a 9cm 64% Guayaquil bittersweet dark Ecuadorian chocolate hand tempered by Master Chef Wolfgang Puck. This way everyone can go home with a 24 carat airbrushed accolade.
There are varied signature items that appear on the menu each year to accommodate the guests, such as chicken pot pie for Meryl Streep. A lot of the menu items emulate that of Spago, Puck’s first notable restaurant. His Austrian descent can be seen each year as he creates an entrée to correspond with a Best Motion Picture nomination. In 2011 he served Dover sole to commemorate The King’s Speech.
The easiest theme to cater for this year would be Wolf of Wall Street. Due to the amount of eclectic eateries on this bustling street it would be simple to plate items from extravagant sushi platters to plates of comfort for vegans like Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway. Over the years Chef Puck has been known to create stations varying from seafood to assorted gourmet pizzas.
“It’s a really great year for movies with lots of variety, so we are going to serve a variety of dishes.”
After an evening filled with glitzy extravagance and pretence one can empathise with these celebrities who have had to starve and gym themselves to squeeze into that vintage Chanel. It’s only natural that there be comforts of home to ease the blow of losing to a fellow co-star dressed in some off the rack gown, such as the signature Truffle Mac and Cheese, certainly one of my favourites as well as the beautiful three dimensional dessert that I hope makes a return from last year’s feast.
With 12 Years a Slave being the front runner at this year’s Golden Globes and with 9 Academy Award nominations under its belt, it will be fascinating to see if Chef Puck can posh up some collard greens, cornbread and a cobbler and turn it into one of the must have dishes at a number of his eateries in the country and of course as the headliner piece at the awards ceremony.
Whether it’s to be a little bitch and channel your own Joan Rivers style commentary, perv over an ageing Jack Dawson, or like me see what luscious food gets to touch the lips of some of the prettiest faces in Hollywood, we should all be looking forward to the Oscars.
As soon as I get my hand on this year’s menu I’ll be sure to post it on my twitter account @llewellynwho.