With the 83rd Annual Academy Awards drawing near, it is time for Wolfgang Puck, Katie Lee, Sherry Yard, and Cheryl Cecchetto to unveil all of the goodies and designs for the Governors Ball immediately following the ceremony.  After I attended the show as a guest in 2007, I realized how hungry nominees and presenters must be after such a stress-filled award season.  If I was hungry, they must be starving.  Well, it’s a good thing Wolfgang Puck is around.  For the 17th consecutive year, he is in charge of cooking up a delicious menu to feed 1500 guests:  from the hosts to the winners and presenters, everyone comes with an appetite.

Luckily, at yesterday’s Food and Beverage Preview, I was able to sample some of Puck’s tastiest treats.  His Kobe Beef Sliders are legendary at the Governor’s Ball, so they kindly offered up more burgers to the press than I could wolf down, add a slice or two of Black Truffle Pizza and Oscar-shaped Smoked Salmon with Caviar and I was stuffed before 11 AM.  This year, the main course is decidedly English with a Pan Roasted Dover Sole with Fennel, Olives, Haricot Vert, Tomatoes, Lemon, Sherry, and Olive Oil.  Although this menu was planned last fall, it is most appropriate given the fact that the movie critics are predicting an Oscar win for “The King’s Speech”.  If that doesn’t tempt the celebrities attending the ball, no worries, they can feast from the 7200 Shrimp, 50,000 Organic Heirloom Baby Vegetables, 4000 Mini Chocolate Oscars, or 1000 Spiny Lobsters.  Hungry, yet? 

By the time the guests reach the dessert course, they will be greeted by Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard’s incredible sweets.  Besides the traditional 24 Karat chocolate Oscars (See, everyone goes home a winner!), Sherry has created a bouquet of Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Cremieux, Cassis Gelee, and Valrhona Ivoire inspired by the chandelier hanging in this year’s ballroom. 

To top off each course, the guests will need a cocktail or two.  Moet et Chandon is the official champagne and no affair is complete without a signature punch.  So, enter celebrity chef and cookbook author, Katie Lee, with the delicious Moet’s Silver Screen Punch with pineapple juice, strawberries, ginger, pink lemonade, vodka, and Moet Imperial.  My sample of the punch lasted less than minute.  It was a tangy, refreshing cocktail even before lunch.

Tying in all of the food and drink is the décor, and Cheryl Cecchetto’s designs never disappoint.  As the event producer for the Governor’s Ball for the last 22 years, she collaborates to create a theme to tie all of the elements together.  With a Copacabana/old Hollywood club feel, this year’s Governor’s Ball will be filled with a colorful fiesta of sound, food, and costumes for the wait staff, orchestra, and the band.  The most magnificent part of the transformation involves the detailed work taking an ordinary hotel ballroom and creating an entirely new atmosphere for the guests to enjoy.  This year, the ball brings in 250 strands of Swarovski crystal to shine throughout the room plus 28,000 square feet of fabric for the ceiling, 600 yards of gold taffeta for the railings and the stage, and 200 ellipsoidal theatrical lighting fixtures.  Are you exhausted yet?

The planning for the Governor’s Ball takes six months and an entire village to assemble the room, food, staff, and flowers.  While the ball is reserved for the nominees, presenters, hosts, and special guests, this isn’t the only party in town.  Some guests will only spend only an hour here because they still need to hit Vanity Fair, Elton John, and the hottest after-party in town, Madonna and Demi Moore’s ultra-exclusive house party.  With all that work and effort put into the show and the ball, it is hard to imagine some guests dining and dashing, but Hollywood calls and the hottest party is always the one you aren’t at.