February 23, 2012 / 11:03 PM / 6 years ago

Wolfgang Puck plans "greatest hits" for Oscar menu

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After the red carpet has been walked and Oscars given out on Sunday night, Hollywood’s stars will dine to what master chef Wolfgang Puck calls his “greatest hits” of recipes.

Chef Wolfgang Puck takes a bite of a 24 Karat Chocolate Oscar dessert during the food and wine preview in preparation for the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 23, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Puck, who is perhaps more famous than some of the celebrities he will feed, on Thursday unveiled his menu for the annual Governor’s Ball following the Academy Awards. He and his staff of 350 will serve some 1500 guests including Hollywood A-listers such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

“You can almost call it Wolfgang’s greatest hits over 30 years,” Puck told reporters about the meal. “This is the perfect menu because there’s something for everybody.”

An 18-year veteran of the post-Oscar party thrown by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Puck and Chef Matt Bencivenga have whipped up more than 50 dishes including hors d‘oeuvres and small-plate entrees that will be offered buffet style throughout the evening.

The list of foods for the sumptuous feast is long: smoked salmon Oscars, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, lobster tacos with tomato and pickled Shallots, beet salad with pistachio butter, braised short ribs with parmesan polenta, lamb chops with a mint cilantro vinegar, lobster with curry ginger sauce, burrata and citrus balsamic, baked potato wrapped in gold with caviar and crème fraiche.

That should be enough to satisfy even the most finicky movie diva. And for those whose gastronomy leans toward the less lavish, there’s always macaroni and cheese.

Instead of formal dining tables, guests will sit on chaise lounges and padded chairs amid 1400 hanging strands of Swarovski crystals in a lounge-like atmosphere where they can mingle and toast the winners. They will be serenaded by Tony Bennett.

“With the lounge style you can eat, you can drink, and you can be with friends instead of having something so formal you have to sit with people you don’t want to be with,” Puck said.

Ninety percent of the menu is drawn from local providers except lobster imported from Maine and truffles from France. In all, some 1450 pounds of Maine lobster will be consumed along with 1000 bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne.

And then there is dessert. Pastry Chef Sherry Yard has created an homage to the future of movies -- a chocolate mousse and chiffon cake shaped like a staircase leading to an Oscar placard made of white chocolate.

“We got the idea because all these movies like ‘Hugo’ are in 3D,” said Puck. “When you look at it in 3D you feel like the chocolate is coming out on you.”

Perennial favorites are Puck’s gold-dusted mini chocolate Oscars. While no substitute for the real thing, losing nominees on Sunday night will find them much tastier. The 5000 small chocolate statuettes required some 25 lbs of 24-carat gold dust to give them their eye-catching shimmer.

When asked about the rich dessert, pastry Chef Frank Bonventre laughed, “With edible Oscars, everyone who comes to the Governor’s Ball goes home with an Oscar.”

Reporting by Jordan Riefe; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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