In The Kitchen At The Oscars
It’s hard to believe that celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has been feeding hungry Oscar attendees at the Governors Ball for over 20 years. Organizing a 1500 person dinner party—and a 300 person culinary staff— is no easy feat, but the veteran chef/restaurateur makes the post Academy Awards gala look effortless.
At 68, the gregarious Puck is still in remarkably fit. What’s his secret?
“Good quality food and great sex every day,” he quipped during our Barber Surgeon’s Guild interview.
“It’s important as we get older to stay in good shape. It helps us to keep going. For me, that’s really the most important thing. I have a trainer that comes to my house twice a week, I play tennis, I go skiing and I stay active. I have to run behind all these young people in my kitchen!”
His son Byron, has helped him in the Oscars kitchen for the past five years.
“It’s more like I have to keep up with my dad, he has so much energy!” he enthused. “I still get nervous, but it’s always amazing to work with the food and my dad’s amazing team.”
If you’re watching your weight, Puck has advice for you.
“Don’t overeat. Everything in moderation. So if you are eating rich beef like we are serving, you eat a little bit. You don’t need 12 ounces of meat. Same thing with wine.”
Last night, Puck was drinking Piper-Heidsieck champagne with Oscar nominees like Denzel Washington and Daniel Kaluuya.
“Piper is perfect for the Oscars because it is food-friendly. It goes perfectly with our Smoked Salmon Oscars and is also rich enough to stand up to the Miyazaki Wagyu Beef. I especially like it rare and I drink it with all of the winners on Oscar night.”
For the menu creation, Puck always likes to pair celebrity favorites including comfort food dishes such as the Winter Truffle Baked Cavatappi & Cheese, Black Truffle Chicken Pot Pie and Mini Wagyu Burgers with new, innovative dishes like this year’s Miyazaki Wagyu beef tartare on puffed black rice, Crab-stuffed hibiscus, and Black Bass with salsa verde.
Puck doesn’t just stay in the kitchen, he loves to greet the celebrities and congratulate the winners, some of whom he’s known for years.
“I know that Denzel really loves food and wine, so I always put a good bottle of Burgundy wine on the side for him. And John Travolta absolutely loves the mac and cheese.”
As celebrities like Brad Pitt enjoy a plant-based diet, there are vegan items on the menu, like Taro root tacos with spiced eggplant, edamame and black truffle pot stickers and housemade spinach campanelle.
“Everybody’s so hungry after the show, I think they forget that they’re vegetarians!” he joked.
Puck has a huge sweet tooth so it’s always an elaborate display of desserts. This year was grander than ever with tray-passed desserts and (made to order) action stations adding to the grand buffet, which featured more than three dozen desserts.