A Caviar-Topped History of Dinner at the Oscars


The first Academy Awards presentation in 1929, an industry affair held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where awards distribution took all of 15 minutes, was not much more than a large, fancy dinner party. In fact, all of the winners had been announced three months earlier, so it was more of a congratulatory event than the nail-biting affair it is today. The audience of about 270 people sat down to a private banquet of broiled half-chicken on toast, string beans, consommé Celestine, long branch potatoes (known better today as French fries), filet of sole sautéed in butter, and cake served with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

Click to enlarge: The menu from the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. Photo: © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

At this year’s Oscars Governors Ball, catered for the 22nd consecutive year by Chef Wolfgang Puck, the catering team alone, 250 people, will dwarf the audience of those first awards. The menu includes a raw bar that clocks in at 2,600 pounds of Maine lobster, whole yellowtail, oysters, shrimp, and Atlantic Bigeye tuna. Perennial favorites like baked potato with caviar and black truffle-laced chicken pot pie will circulate among the guests, along with portions of wagyu short rib with cauliflower purée, taro root taco, and dover sole with sweet potato and chile.

The small plates are a recent innovation. “In the old times, it was a formal seated dinner. Everyone got a first course, a main course, and dessert, which, for a lot of people was very boring,” Puck said. In 2012, Puck changed the format of the ball from a formal, sit-down dinner to more of a lounge style meal, with waiters circulating to deliver small plates portions to each area.

Puck prepares a sea of salmon at the 1995 …read more

Source:: Bon Appetit