I don’t get starstuck by Hollywood celebs, directors, agents, executives or producers who cross my path or get nervous when I am interviewing them one-on-one. However, as a self-described foodie who is addicted to the Food Network, I do have to admit that I have chef crushes and have harbored such girlish admiration for years. And one of those heart-gifted men recently crossed my path with a thud.
Master chef Wolfgang Puck literally smacked right into me as he was taking his place behind a feast of delicious delights at the invite-only preview of this year’s Governors Ball, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ official post-Oscar celebration, which will immediately follow the 87th Oscars ceremony Sunday, Feb. 22.
It was a slow-motion Hollywood moment as he, gripping my arms, asked repeatedly “if [I were] alright” and offering his “apologies” for being in such a “rush.”
Forgiven. Forgiven. Forgiven.
The preview included the Academy governor, Jeffrey Kurland, and the event producer, Cheryl Cecchetto, who, along with Puck, shared what the 1,500 invited guests (Oscar winners and nominees, show presenters and other telecast participants) were going to see, taste and drink.
Now this is the part that left me speechless and humble: We got to sample signature Puck favorites, such as smoked salmon Oscars, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles and mini American Wagyu burgers with aged Cheddar.
Diageo Luxury Brands will again be the star at the Oscar Night, with Sterling Vineyards wines, Johnnie Walker, Haig Club, Talisker and Ketel One being served throughout the evening.
That’s not close to all we sampled, because the pastry team (Della Gossett, Spago’s executive pastry chef; Kamel Guechida, corporate director of pastry for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group; and Jason Lemonnier, Los Angeles pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck Catering) put their collective “foot” into the sweets, including creating such exotic stand-alones as the apple millefeuille with cider jelly, peanut butter strawberry lollipop, milk chocolate panna cotta with raspberry and cherry and, of course, Puck’s traditional 24-karat gold chocolate Oscars.
This is Puck’s 21st consecutive year creating the menu for the Governors Ball, and he not only posed with me, along with his VIP brand ambassador, but also personally gave me two of his 24-karat gold chocolate Oscars.