“Why do one thing when you can have it all?” Wolfgang’s sentiment definitely carries through this year, which is an important milestone for Wolfgang Puck himself - it’s his 20th year of creating the menu for the Academy Awards® Governors Ball! We’ll be celebrating in style at the iconic Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland with an unparalleled culinary spectacular.
Over the last 20 years, Chef Puck has continued to bring new, unique flavors and dishes to the celebrity crowd as well as many of his signature dishes from his restaurants, including the much-loved comfort food the stars crave after a long awards season. He, along with CEO Carl Schuster and Chef Partner Matt Bencivenga have a lot to be proud of. In addition to elaborate menu planning, there’s also an incredible amount of strategy behind the evening, not to mention the highest standards of execution.
Let’s start with the menu. In addition to the classics like Wolfgang’s pot pies, smoked salmon Oscars®, and truffle macaroni and cheese, we’re also serving a “new classic” in the buttermilk fried chicken and grits, plus healthy options like our power smoothies and carrot ginger gazpacho (both served as shooters for a delicious boost).
There’s something for everyone on the lengthy menu, including those with dietary restrictions or following a plant-based diet. Ellen DeGeneres, this year’s host, has been a vegan for many years and Chef Puck prides himself on offering diverse dishes for all. In fact, he says the evening is, “the biggest celebration on our side of the world,” so it’s no time to play it conservatively!
And don’t even get us started on dessert. There are gluten-free cupcakes for those with dietary restrictions, a chocolate buffet guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth, and then the pièce de résistance - enter the Pastry Dream Team. These four amazing chefs were hand-selected by Wolfgang Puck to bring this year’s treats to a whole new level. He says, “I chose these four chefs in particular not just for their individual talents, but also for their cohesive vision. The menu they have put together is one that showcases their incredible experience and whimsical imagination. They are the ideal team to help me celebrate my 20th year catering the Governors Ball.” We’re so proud of our four chefs: Della Gosset (Executive Pastry Chef, Spago), Kamel Guechida (Corporate Director of Pastry for Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining), Romain Lenoir (Executive Pastry Chef, Wolfgang Puck Catering), and Jason LeMonnier (Executive Pastry Chef, H&H). Together, they made some truly special confections.
Inspired by this year’s theme, ’the transcendent wonder of nature’, the Dream Team collaborated and brainstormed together and with Wolfgang to create unique desserts that represented “earthly flavors and seasons.”
The also presented Chef Puck with a one-of-a-kind cake to celebrate, complete with a zoetrope-style animation of him flipping a crêpe. It’s the first year there’s been a cake on hand for the Governors Ball, and it’s guaranteed to make a splash. It’s Wolfgang’s favorite, a marjolaine cake made with delicate layers of hazelnut sponge cake, coffee butter cream, and chocolate ganache. C’est magnifique! (To see the cake in action, click here)
What else does it take to carry off an incredible evening for 1500 illustrious guests, including the biggest names in Hollywood? Well, over 950 staff (plus 350 culinary staff) will be in attendance, along with 10,000 artfully arranged flowers. Four weeks of prep went into the 5,000 mini chocolate Oscars®, which will be enjoyed alongside other decadent dishes, made with 10 pounds of black winter truffles from Burgundy, and washed down with 1,350 bottles of Thiénot Champagne. If that’s not a party, we don’t know what is.
As the big day arrives, we hope you’re excited to see how the Academy Awards® pan out for the year’s biggest films and stay tuned for our post after Oscar® Sunday as we share the highlights from the red carpet and Governors Ball with Wolfgang Puck and his incredible team. And don’t forget to watch the events unfold on ABC at 7EST/4PST on March 2nd!
If you’re planning a viewing party, contact us today help you coordinate a memorable event for a group – whether you’re red carpet ready or commentating from the couch. Or if you’re hosting a party and need recipe ideas, head over to the Oscars® landing page on our website.