Served with ceremony: The culinary trends at this year's awards parties

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Tim Walker gets to sample delicacies including edible gold flakes and mojito mousse

Whether they've starved themselves of carbs to squeeze into their outfit, or ruined their appetites with pre-speech nerves, chances are that by the time the three-hour Oscars ceremony is over, Hollywood's great and good (and slightly less good) are hungry. On Sunday night, following the 84th Academy Awards, the guests repaired to the banquet hall above the Hollywood and Highland Theatre for the Governor's Ball, where the Austrian-American megachef Wolfgang Puck and his 350 staff fed them more than 50 dishes, including mini Kobe cheeseburgers, cold lobster tacos, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, Chinois lamb with coriander mint vinaigrette, and gold-wrapped baked potatoes with caviar – George Clooney's favourite, apparently.

Among the desserts was something called "3D chocolate", and if 3D turns out not to be the future of movies, then perhaps it's the future of puddings. For the dishes being produced at awards ceremonies today could soon be served at a wedding, birthday party or Bar Mitzvah near you. Event caterers Payne and Gunter have been feeding the Brit Awards since 2005 and, says the firm's operations director Bethan James, "An event like the Brits has a huge following – not only those attending on the night, but also through the increase in social media ... That filters through to the catering world and becomes a talking point, especially when you're striving to achieve something different, which is always our aim with the Brits."

This year, thanks to Payne and Gunter's 80 chefs, Adele et al started with porcini, spelt and broad bean "truffles", accompanied by homemade tomato chutney and crostini. ("I'm sure we'll have a number of requests for savoury 'truffles' presented in beautiful little boxes for future events," says James.) For the main course, a cannon of English lamb in green herbs on pea purée, with spiced red cabbage and a miniature lamb and mint Cornish pasty. Chris Martin probably went for the vegetarian option: wild mushroom ragout in a puff pastry case. And, to finish, Mojito jelly with tequila mousse and effervescent lime sugar. No doubt Bafta-winning actor Adam Deacon was joking when he posted a picture of his delicious-looking main course, and the message: "dinner at the brits. you know im going [to] nandos after innit! lol".

Puck, whose restaurant empire includes Spago – a Beverly Hills institution beloved of movie stars and their cut-throat agents – has been feeding Oscar guests for 18 years. Last year his winning dish was English Dover Sole, in honour of Best Picture victor The King's Speech.

The biggest event in the music awards season is the Grammys, for which Puck also did the catering in 2011. This year the honours went to leading Hollywood caterers Along Came Mary, whose boss Mary Micucci has provided menus for such large-scale events as the Democrat National Convention, and Barbra Streisand's wedding. The Grammys after-party this year was inspired by Rio Carnival, and featured five Brazilian "buffet stations" with names such as "Favelas fabulous" and "Copacabana nights", to feed 5,000 or more guests.

Micucci also catered for US TV's industry bunfight the Emmys in September, where she delegated food duties to a series of local Californian firms such as Bell Street Farm, which provided salads, and Full of Life, purveyors of "artisanal" flatbread pizza. Just as some ceremonies and individual awards carry a sponsor's name, so it is important for brands to be seen at the right after-parties. Grey Goose vodka, for example, provided cocktails at the Emmys, and also has a heavily publicised partnership with the Weinstein Company, to lubricate the guests at producer Harvey Weinstein's annual Bafta awards bash in London.

The extravagance of some awards dinners can be controversial. Celebrities and their colleagues at the Golden Globes ceremony in LA in January chowed down on pistachio-crusted pistou ravioli; Pacific sea bass marinated in miso and sake lees with grilled king oyster mushroom and braised prime short rib of beef; and chocolate delice almond crunch terrine. When it emerged that the dessert would be decorated with 23-carat edible gold flakes and a white chocolate ball sprayed with gold dust, anti-poverty activists were irate – especially as almost 50 million US citizens are presently categorised as experiencing "food insecurity". Maybe the Globes ought to go the route of the annual NME Awards, which last year served its attendees champagne as well as Domino's pizza.

A few guilty consciences might be quelled by the emphasis on the ethical in many of the menus. At the Grammys, for instance, all the produce was locally sourced, the seafood sustainably produced, the cooking oil recycled and the leftovers donated to food banks.

When Stella McCartney stunned London Fashion Week in February, showcasing her collection not with a catwalk show but with a celebrity-packed dinner and contemporary dance performance, she served a six-course vegetarian meal to reflect her advocacy of animal rights: saffron risotto, Hyde Park sweet chestnut, Sicilian blood oranges, Périgord black truffle and Wigmore cheese on toast. And you thought fashion people never ate.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little