Tuesday, August 31, 2010

62nd Emmy Awards Governors Ball: The Food

When the cast of Mad Men and the other Emmy Award winners left the Nokia Theater on Sunday evening, they walked across the plaza to the Governors Ball, where an army of caterers, waiters, florists and planners organized a seated dinner for over 3,500 attendees. This is the largest annual dinner in North America and required months of planning to enable the dinner to go smoothly and each guest to get their food hot and delicious.

With so many celebrities in attendance, this was no rubber chicken dinner. I will leave it to others to dish about who wore what. I will focus on the important stuff: what did they eat? Joachim Splichal's Patina Catering catered the three course meal of Summer Vegetable Salad, Rack of Lamb and Dark Chocolate Decadence. Wines were provided by Beaulieu Vineyards and the cast of Modern Family and Daily Show celebrated their statuettes with Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne. Nobody was going hungry or thirsty at this bash.

The first course (above) was Summer Vegetable Salad, Avocado Mousse, Salsa Verde and Heirloom Tomato Water Gelee. The avocado mousse and the tomato water gelee (at the right side of the plate) provided a nice textural contrast to the fresh vegetables on the left. This year the Emmy Awards were held in August, instead of the traditional September, which provided Chef Alec Lestr, the Executive Chef of Patina Catering, the opportunity to focus "on summer ingredients instead of fall. We have beautiful heirloom tomatoes this year."

The main course was Rack of Lamb with Dried Fruit Crumble, Chickpea Puree, Basil Marinated Grilled Eggplant with Summer Vegetables and Rosemary Juice. The lamb was delicious and made it out to the table pink in the center. Chef Lestr began planning the meal and came up with 80 different dishes. By March he and his team had narrowed the choices to 20 for the Board of Governors to sample and the entree options included beef, lamb and chicken.

For the first time in a decade the Governors chose something other than beef by going with the lamb. For diners who don't eat lamb, the kitchen provided an option of Portobello Mushroom Ravioli or Lemon Studded Salmon Ratatouille. Almost 1,000 pounds of rack of lamb was served to the attendees.

Over 180 chefs and 13 executive chefs were on hand to prepare the food for the full house of 3,600 winners, nominees, presenters and academy members. The dessert course (above) was Dark Chocolate Decadence with Smoked Fleur D'Sel on Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie. This is not a dish you see every day, combining a dessert mix available in the supermarket with high end fine dining flourishes. Philippe Muze, the Executive Pastry Chef for Patina Catering, created the dish, which was a first for him. "I tested the brownie recipe and it came out well. Coming from France, we don't have these kind of products there. I love fleur de sel. I thought, what can I put with chocolate brownies? Fleur de sel gives some special flavor to the dish."

Chef Lestr (above) was surprisingly calm before the awards, "I wish every day was the Emmys. I want to feed 3,500 people every day. We have such an amazing team. With the theme of Starry, Starry Night, we thought, let's make the food beautiful," he said. His motto is "plan the work, work the plan."

The tables were decorated with the theme of Starry Night and the food was cooked on-site, on temporary kitchens set up in the adjacent parking lot and plated adjacent to the ballroom. Your correspondent was unfortunately not able to keep the Emmy statuette pictured in the photo above, despite having a perfect spot for it on my mantle. Below the full expanse of the room is visible in all of its scale and extravagance.

1 comment:

  1. I am jealous!! Glad to see that the starz are eating well ;-)