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January 6, 2009

Wolfgang Puck’s Guide to Throwing a Movie Awards Party

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wolfgang puck at the 79th annual academy awards

Photo Credit: John Shearer/Wire Image

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The Party
Invite a crowd to watch the Academy Awards. Set the start time to coincide with a preshow broadcast, so your guests arrive and mingle as the stars walk the red carpet. Set up multiple televisions — a big screen in the main party area and one or more smaller ones in the kitchen or elsewhere. Print out ballots on festive paper and hand them out with pencils, so people can make predictions at the start of the evening to keep tabs. At the end of the night, give bottles of Champagne, statuettes, or DVDs to the guests who picked the most winners.

The Food
Wolfgang has catered the Governors Ball (the official post-telecast party) for more than a decade, and this menu includes five of his favorite dishes from those years. It's not a sit-down meal, but rather a series of substantial party nibbles for serving throughout the evening. "Work out a plan ahead of time and have all the elements ready to go," says Wolfgang, "so you don't have to miss too much of the show and the fun." He suggests you start with the artichokes and the tuna, both of which can be make well ahead of time. Then serve the gnocchi, followed by the chicken in lettuce cups. As the party reaches its peak, bring out the showstopping lobster. Finish the evening with the marjolaine, as you tally the ballots and toast the winners.

Easy Extras
For a splashy yet simple appetizer, Wolfgang suggests splitting small potatoes crosswise, tossing them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them. Top the warm potato halves with crème fraîche, different varieties of caviar, and snipped chives, and serve them on a bed of rock salt to keep them upright. For between-course snacking, make a few batches of popcorn with a variety of seasonings, such as salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan, or chile powder, and wrap up individual servings in cellophane bags tied with ribbons. Wolfgang also likes to set out bowls of good-quality chips and spicy seasoned almonds.

Wolfgang’s Playlist
Bruce Springsteen, Streets of Philadelphia (EP)
Top Gun: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Star Wars: Original Soundtrack
Chicago: Music from the Miramax Motion Picture
Saturday Night Fever: the Original Movie Sound Tracks

Click forward to Page 2 for recipes!


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