The biggest night of the year for the film industry took place last night as the 94th Academy Awards were held in the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles.
While it was a night full of surprises - nobody saw that Will Smith moment coming - fan favourites like Belfast, Coda and Encanto took home golden gongs, making the first post-Covid event one to remember.
For us, though, the most important part of the night is the afterparty because that's where the star-studded food is served.
While the Vanity Fair afterparty often makes the most headlines, usually due to spectacular fashion choices, the exclusive post-Oscars Governors Ball is the official afterparty of the awards. For the 28th year in a row, Austrian-born chef Wolfgang Puck catered the Governors Ball, but this year he had company.
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Ghetto Gastro, a Bronx-based culinary collective led by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao and Lester Walker, joined Puck to create the menu for this year's Governors Ball. In a release detailing the collaboration, the collective stated the following:
“Merging food, fashion, music, art and design, Ghetto Gastro’s work masterfully blends influences from the African diaspora, global south ingredients and hip-hop to create offerings that address race, identity and economic empowerment.”
With Puck's menus often veering towards a combination of classical French and typical American fare, Ghetto Gastro's welcome influence helped to showcase different flavours. To complement Puck's menu items, the trio hosted a food station of their own, while also serving up several passed dishes throughout the evening.
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The first of the Ghetto Gastro's dishes on offer was the Triple C's cornbread, crab and caviar - which looked absolutely loaded with decadent toppings. The trio also served up a dish named for the film Field of Dreams, which included crispy coconut rice, field peas and sweet plantain, plus a vegan dish of crispy cauliflower with tamarind glaze and cilantro aioli - that's coriander to those of us on this side of the pond.
Other dishes from Ghetto Gastro included a shaved ice piragua station, available in two combinations: coffee, pineapple and apricot creme, and mandarin and yuzu with pine nut.
Perhaps the most impressive-looking of the collective's dishes was their ancestral roots waffle with fried chicken and spicy syrup, which was served from one of the event's small plate stations.
Back over at Wolfgang Puck's side of the kitchen, the Austrian chef leaned on tried and tested favourites, including his well-loved woodfired pizzas, smoked salmon and caviar on Oscars-shaped matzo crackers, and a cookies and milk bar.
Other classic Puck dishes from the evening included the miniature wagyu burgers with sharp cheddar and remoulade, spicy tuna tartare in sesame miso cones and cacio e pepe macaroni and cheese.
The two cold dishes on offer were fava bean hummus with chickpeas, greens, jalapeños and tahini dressing, plus an intriguing-sounding terrarium salad of edible succulents with quinoa pumpernickel soil, tiny crudités and citrus vinaigrette.
To round out the evening, Puck and Co assembled an array of delicious-sounding desserts for those with a sweet tooth. Alongside the cookies and milk bar, there were more than ten treats available to choose, including cookies, whoopie pies, truffles and chocolate pops.
With macarons always available on the Oscars menu, Puck served up two new varieties last night that played on classic American flavours: peanut butter and jelly, and smores.
While only the lucky few get to bring a golden statue home after the Oscars, everyone who attends the Governors Ball will get to enjoy an edible version from Puck and his team. These coveted statuettes are made with 70 per cent Valrhona chocolate, then sprayed gold. The team created around 3,000 of the treats for last night's event.
Often eaten as desserts during the event, Puck also serves them in takeaway packaging so that celebrities can enjoy them in the comfort of their own homes. Apparently, before Puck began using takeaway packaging, many would store the sought-after treat in their handbags and pockets, risking melting the chocolate and destroying their couture looks just to ensure they could enjoy the golden creation!
While the event sounds like a staggering feat of culinary expertise, we have some stats to share that show just how mammoth of a task it really was.
Allegedly, Puck has a team of 200 working with him in the kitchen and around 600 manning the floor to serve 1,500 lucky guests.
This year, Puck used more than 1,080 eggs, 300lb smoked salmon, 100 lobsters, 15lb caviar and 65lb wagyu beef to create his luxurious menu. The average price for 100g caviar is about $560 in the USA, so our calculations indicate that 15lb caviar alone could have cost Puck around $38,000!
To see what was on the menu in previous years, click here.