Guess who’s coming to dinner? Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Brad Pitt and George Clooney… without even mentioning the rest of Hollywood’s royalty, those names would be enough to send many a chef, amateur or professional, in to a meltdown.
But it will be the 18th year Austrian-American culinary darling Wolfgang Puck has catered for such film luminaries at the annual post-Academy Awards dinner, the Governor’s Ball.
Wolfgang Puck with the dishes that will be served after this year's Oscars ceremony.
If I was cooking for Clooney et al, I would stick to my tried and true formal dinner menu favourites which hark back to my Pacific fusion cuisine roots. Scallops on a cauliflower purée, NZ lamb and potato roti, pavlova with a berry coulis… things I know I can cook and could ramp up a notch for celebrity guests with some careful food styling and haute cuisine inspiration. Oh, the pressure!
But Wolfgang Puck has done formal sit-down dinners for the previous 17 Governor’s Ball meals, and says this year, “we really wanted just to have fun”.
“Normally it’s very uptight, a black-tie dinner, the biggest night of the year in Hollywood, and the only thing missing is the British royals,” he says.
So what’s he cooking? Like me, he too is going for a “greatest hits” menu – but from a more informal realm of cooking - comfy classics including pizza, macaroni and cheese, spring rolls and sushi. At this year’s ball, the dining style is going to be much more relaxed, with guests able to eat wherever they choose to stand or sit, or “hang out”.