Famed chef Wolfgang Puck shares the recipes for his mouth-watering dishes to be served at the Governors Ball after the Oscars on March 2. Here, find out his inspiration and process, plus one of the recipes that will be served, from Us Weekly's friends at Vogue.
There will be a small army keeping the actors, publicists, reporters, and more fed before and after the Oscars Sunday night. Nine hundred people, in fact, with 300 in the kitchen and 600 working the front of house, will rally to nourish the likes of Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett off the red carpet and at the post-show Governors Ball. Together, they will cook, plate, and serve nearly 60 varieties of small plates that range from smoked-salmon macaroons to vegan taro-root tacos and citrus panna-cotta for a total of 16,000 individual dishes.
Wolfgang Puck—who is celebrating his 20th year as commander in chief of these troops—started planning the menu in December, although after two decades at the helm, he's more than prepared for last-minute substitutions. "We try to get all our ingredients in by Friday afternoon," he explained over the phone. "We still might change some things because we're going to the farmers' market, and we'll just see what [ingredients] they have." Some dishes are made a day in advance, but most of the cooking begins at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning. And while there are some year-to-year mainstays on the menu ("The Board of Governors loves the chicken potpie. So does Barbra Streisand"), Puck also uses the nominees as inspiration for new recipes. Case in point: He once made a Chinese-style fish for Best Director–winner Ang Lee. As for any special creations this year: "Win or lose, I'm going to make Bradley Cooper a steak."
Here, the chef shares the recipes for six dishes he'll be serving Sunday night. You may not be cooking for Bradley Cooper, but you can pretend.
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Makes about 5 1/2 cups
1/2 lb shelled raw hazelnuts
9 oz milk chocolate (38% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
7 oz dark chocolate (65% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup glucose syrup or light corn syrup
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp fleur de sel
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast until fragrant, the skins dark and cracked, and the nutmeats underneath look deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring them 2 or 3 times while they roast. Remove the nuts from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
3. Pour the nuts into the center of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over to enclose nuts completely and then thoroughly rub to dislodge the nuts of their skins. Transfer the skinless nuts to a bowl, carefully shaking the skins from the towel into the trash.
4. When the nuts are completely cooled, put them in a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade. Pulse several times to chop them coarsely; then, run the machine continuously until the nuts form a paste. Use a rubber spatula to remove the paste from the processor processor, transferring it to a bowl. Set aside.
5. Place the milk and dark chocolates in a mixing bowl and drizzle with the glucose or corn syrup.
6. In saucepan, warm the heavy cream over medium heat until it reaches a simmer.
7. Pour the simmering cream over the chocolate. With a wire whisk, begin stirring together the melting chocolate and cream in the center of the bowl. As the chocolate begins to blend with the cream, forming a smooth, shiny mixture, stir in more and more chocolate from the sides until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the hazelnut paste and fleur de sel to taste, and continue stirring until the nut paste, chocolate, and cream are completely blended.
8. Spoon the mixture into small, individual serving glasses or bowls or into one or more larger serving containers. Leave to cool until room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For more of Puck's recipes for the Oscars, including grilled cheese sandwiches and carrot-orange gazpacho, head to Vogue.com
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