“Cooking is an evolution, so we always want the menu to be an evolution, too.  We want to show our own style, but move forward and change.  The great thing about working with the Ball Committee at the Academy, they trust us and let us do whatever we want!”

Along with chef Matt Bencivenga, Puck has created this year’s menu featuring more than 50 imaginative dishes, from one-bite hors d'oeuvres to small-plate entrées. The menu, which includes such signature favourites as smoked salmon Oscars, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, and mini American Wagyu burgers with aged Cheddar and remoulade, will incorporate local produce and sustainable seafood.  There will be modern presentations such as crispy lobster shrimp dumplings with five spice and bites of fried chicken with white grits, and an expanded selection of vegan dishes, including shots of carrot orange gazpacho, taro root tacos with avocado, and butternut squash with farro and wild rice. 

“More and more people today, including many in Hollywood, are exploring the health benefits and dining pleasures of vegan cooking—not just vegetarian but also completely free of dairy products and eggs. I have added a number of vegetarian and vegan dishes to the Governors Ball menu.”

This year’s dynamic pastry team includes Della Gossett, Spago’s executive pastry chef; Kamel Guechida, corporate director of pastry for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group; Romain Lenoir, executive pastry chef of Wolfgang Puck Catering; and Jason Lemonnier, pastry chef for Hollywood & Highland.  Together these chefs will create elegant seasonal desserts, such as chocolate-dipped strawberry cheesecake pops, citrus panna cotta with funky chunky chocolate popcorn, and a celebratory cake to honour Puck's 20th consecutive year creating the menu for the Governors Ball.

 

Did you know The Oscars uses...
  • 6,500 wood-fired Oscar-shaped flat bread
  • 3,500 miso cones
  • 250 pounds troll-caught Atlantic Bigeye
  • 17 whole US wild-caught yellowtail
  • 1,300 farmed oysters
  • 5 kilos of American farm-raised caviar
  • 600 Maine lobsters
  • 7,500 individual US shrimp
  • 250 pounds sticky rice
  • 30 gallons cocktail sauce
  • 50 whole yellowtail snapper
  • 25 gallons spicy mustard
  • 1,250 stone crab claws
  • 1,500 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 10 pounds winter black truffles from Burgundy

and a whole load more…

Why don’t you tuck into the following recipes, straight from Puck’s chef’s pocket and join the stars in the night’s gastronomic delights…

 

Carrot-Orange Gazpacho

These will be passing small sips of this refreshing cold soup in shot glasses as guests enter the Governors Ball. You can make it easily by buying the bottled fresh organic carrot, apple, and orange juices you’ll find in the refrigerated section of many health-conscious markets today. Or, if you have a countertop electric juice extractor, make the juices just before serving and chill the mixture by shaking it with ice in a cocktail shaker.

 

Makes 16 servings, 1 1/2 ounces each

Ingredients

2 cups fresh organic carrot juice

1/2 cup fresh organic apple juice

1/2 cup fresh organic orange juice

Thin slices fresh carrot or apple, for garnish (optional)

 

Method

Combine the juices in a nonreactive pitcher or jar. Cover and refrigerate for  several hours, until well chilled. Meanwhile, put 16 shot glasses, about 2 ounces each, on a tray. Chill in the freezer. Just before serving, remove the pitcher or jar from the refrigerator and the glasses from the freezer. Briefly stir the juice and then pour about 1 1/2 ounces into each shot glass. If you like, garnish with carrot or apple slices. Serve immediately.

 

 

Kale Chips and Cauliflower Chips

Serves about 2 dozen as an hors-d’oeuvre

 

Ingredients

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 

Cauliflower Chips

1 whole head cauliflower, trimmed

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

Kale Chips

For the Kale Chips, preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.

While the oven is heating, carefully use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut the leaves from the thick stems and ribs, discarding the stems and ribs. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the leaf pieces thoroughly and then dry them thoroughly with a salad spinner or drain well and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels.

Put the kale in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the leaves evenly but lightly, sprinkle with salt, and toss and rub the leaves thoroughly with your hands to coat them evenly. Spread the leaves evenly on the lined cookie sheet. Put the sheet in the oven and bake until the kale leaves are dry and crispy, with browned but not yet burnt edges, 30 to 40 minutes.

 

Cauliflower Chips

While the kale is baking, start preparing the Cauliflower Chips. Line another non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Stand the head of cauliflower upright, stem end down, on a cutting board. Then, with a sharp knife, cut it vertically, down through the stem, into 4 symmetrical quarters. With the knife, cut each quarter vertically into slices as thin as possible, aiming to keep the stem and floret sections of each slice attached. Place the cauliflower slices in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, enough olive oil to coat them lightly and thoroughly, and the garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. With your fingers, very gently toss and turn the slices to coat them evenly.

Spread out the cauliflower slices in an even layer on the lined baking sheet.

When the kale is done baking, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and leave on a rack until the kale chips have cooled. Store in an airtight container.

As soon as you remove the kale from the oven, put the sheet of cauliflower in the oven and bake until the cauliflower slices look dehydrated and lightly golden and they feel dry and crispy when lightly touched, 25 to 35 minutes.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and leave on a rack until the cauliflower chips have cooled. Store in an airtight container.

Serve the kale and cauliflower chips together or separately in one or more shallow bowls or platters.

 

Pimento cheese

Ingredients

8 oz. of cream cheese

2 cups of cheddar

2 cups of pizza cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

2-3 tablespoons of pimento/piquello peppers

2 tablespoons of grated onion

Cracked black pepper to taste

Salt and garlic powder to taste

 

Method

Mix all ingredients with paddle and smooth out in sieve.

 

Wild Rice and Farro Salad with Butternut Squash Puree

More and more people today, including many in Hollywood, are exploring the health benefits and dining pleasures of vegan cooking—not just vegetarian but also completely free of dairy products and eggs. That’s why we’ve created this delicious, colorful, satisfying little salad for the Governors Ball.

 

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw wild rice

9 cups good-quality canned vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups raw farro

Sherry Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Puree

1/2 lemon

3 Granny Smith apples

1 small fennel bulb

4 raw baby beets

2 navel oranges

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 Brussels sprouts

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

First, start cooking the wild rice. Put the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the rice to a 6-quart saucepan and add 4 1/2 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook the wild rice until the grains are tender and look puffed open, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover the pan, gently fluff the rice with a fork, and then cover and steam for about 5 minutes longer. About 20 minutes after the wild rice starts cooking, begin cooking the farro. Put the farro in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the farro to a 6-quart saucepan and add the remaining 4 1/2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook the farro until the grains are tender, about 25 minutes. When both the wild rice and the farro are done cooking, transfer each to a separate nonreactive bowl. Leave both to cool to room temperature.

Make the Sherry Vinaigrette. Stir it well and then divide evenly between the bowls of cooled wild rice and cool farro. With a fork, thoroughly toss the grains in each bowl with the vinaigrette. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

While the squash is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Begin by filling three mixing bowls with ice cubes and water. Squeeze the lemon into 1 of the bowls.

Core the Granny Smith apples. With a mandolin or sharp knife, carefully cut the apples into very thin, round slices. Immerse the apple slices in the bowl of ice water with the lemon juice. With the knife, trim the top and bottom of the fennel bulb, removing protruding stalks. With the mandolin or knife, cut the fennel bulb into very thin, round cross-section slices. Immerse the fennel slices in another bowl of ice water.

With the knife, trim the tops and bottoms from the beets. Scrub the beets dry with a kitchen brush, rinsing well. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. With the mandolin or knife, cut the beets into very thin, round slices. Immerse the beet slices in another bowl of ice water.

With a sharp, serrated knife, peel each orange thickly enough to remove not just the white peel but also the outer membranes of the fruit segments beneath. Then, holding the peeled orange over a bowl, cut between the fruit of each segment and the membrane on either side to free the segment, letting it drop into the bowl. Set the segments aside. Trim the stalk ends of the Brussels sprouts. With your fingers, carefully separate and remove the leaves from each sprout, keeping them whole and stopping when you get down to the tight core of smaller leaves that can no longer be separated easily. Reserve the cores for another use.

Heat a medium sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and, as soon as it is hot enough to swirl freely in the pan, add the Brussels sprout leaves and sauté them, stirring continuously, until they begin to turn a light golden color, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

When the squash puree is completed, assemble the salads. First, separately and thoroughly drain the apples, fennel, and beets, patting all the slices dry with paper towels.

Divide the squash puree evenly among 8 serving plates, spreading it attractively across the center of each plate with the back of a spoon. Stir the marinated wild rice and farro mixtures, and divide each among the plates, arranging separate mounds on top of the squash puree. Over the grains, attractively arrange the apple, fennel, and beet slices, the orange segments, and the Brussels sprouts leaves. Serve immediately.

 

Beef Short Rib Goulash With Spaetzle

Serves 6 as a main course, 16 to 20 as an hors-d’oeuvre

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon whole caraway seeds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups thinly sliced yellow onion

1 tablespoon sugar

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon spicy paprika

2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 cups good-quality canned chicken broth

2 1/2 pounds well-trimmed boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Spaetzle (recipe follows)

 

Method

Put the caraway seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool. Grind in a spice grinder. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sugar and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions turn a medium caramel-brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the caraway and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute longer. Add both paprikas, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.Stir in the tomato paste and vinegar. Add the broth, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Add the beef, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beef is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Before serving, remove the bay leaf, taste the sauce, and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the spaetzle onto heated plates or into large shallow serving bowls for main courses, or into small bowls for hors-d’oeuvres. Spoon the meat and sauce alongside and over the spaetzle.

 

Spaetzle

Serves 6 as a main course, 16 to 20 as an hors-d’oeuvre with goulash

 

Ingredients

4 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 3/4 cups milk

1 pound (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 ounces unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup peanut oil

2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

 

Method

In a small bowl, beat together the yolks, egg, and milk. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the melted butter and the egg mixture and mix by hand until well blended. Do not overmix. Cover and refrigerate to rest for at least 1 hour. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Place a large mixing bowl filled with ice and water on the  counter near the sink.

Place a large-holed metal colander on top of the pot. Put the batter in the colander and, with the  back of a large spoon, force the batter through the holes into the water to form spaetzle. Cook until the spaetzle rise to the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and instantly transfer the spaetzle to the ice water. When cool to the touch, drain well. Transfer to a bowl and stir in half the oil. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.) Before serving, heat a large sauté pan over high heat Add the remaining oil and the spaetzle. Cook for 2 minutes without moving the pan, to brown their undersides. Add the butter pieces and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

 

Find out more about Wolfgang Puck here and about chef Puck at the Oscars here.