Actors and actresses weren’t the only ones feeling the pressure on Oscars night! The chefs responsible for catering the many star-studded parties were also a bit preoccupied during Hollywood’s biggest night. Take chef Wayne Elias, for example. The talented cook, along with his company, Crumble Catering, catered Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party on Sunday, February 24, in Los Angeles.
Elias, who has been catering the event for 15 years, spoke to Us Weekly exclusively from the kitchen on Sunday and revealed exactly what goes into preparing meals for the high-profile party. “It is the busiest night of the year and the biggest party that I do throughout the year,” he explained. This year’s soiree consisted of a five-course dinner that was prepared for approximately 1,000 people, including stars such as Diana Ross and Heidi Klum. Courses included parsnip coconut soup with blood orange and braised short ribs.
John’s event has been held each year since 1993, and raises money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which is one reason why Elias loves to participate. “I lived through the epidemic back in the 1980s so it’s very passionate to me,” he explained, adding that he’s lost friends to the disease. “I’ve always wanted to give back and this has become a wonderful venue and avenue for me to be part of, to give back and to help the organization raise tons of money.”
Given that he’s serving such a large, discerning crowd, Elias told Us he starts preparing for the party about four months ahead of time by designing the menu. “As we get closer, two months out, we finalize the menu,” he said. “Then we do a tasting one month away, then we fine-tune the tasting and then we’re ready to serve.”
Believe it or not, Elias revealed that John is “very easy to please” when it comes to food. “He’s not difficult at all and he’s so humble and thankful, but he does always choose the meat course on the menu,” the chef dished. “So we do know what he likes, and we make sure that we cater to the menu and design the menu so there’s always a wonderful meat option.”
Though he’s a proud carnivore, Elias explained that the “Tiny Dancer” singer prefers desserts that don’t have any added sugar. In 2019, that meant preparing a “special” sugar-free cake for the Grammy-winning artist.
As for how he ensures the busy night runs smoothly? Elias told Us he has it down to a science by now. “After 15 years, I think I have the experience and the knowledge, and every year I learn something for the following year,” he noted. “I just have been fortunate to be on top of everything to make sure every aspect and every part falls in place.”
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe
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