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Eat Like a Star on Oscar Night

Several of Wolfgang Puck's recipes for post-Academy Awards ball

Want to eat like a movie star? You're probably thinking "no" because most Hollywood actresses look like they subsist on a diet of lettuce leaves and green tea.

But on Sunday when they leave the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, the stars will sit down to one of the year's great feasts at the Academy's Governors' Ball.

Wolfgang Puck, in his 17th year as chef for the ball, is going for a Latin and international flavor with such touches as coastal seafood and classic risotto paella with saffron and white wine, which will be served in miniature black kettles, to accompany the evening's entrée of pan roasted Dover sole with fennel, olives and haricot vert.

"We got inspired a little bit from the movies that are up for awards," says Puck. The Dover sole is a nod to The King's Speech, nominated for numerous awards

Serving 1,500 famished Hollywood types after a three-plus hour telecast is not easy, even for Puck and his chef partner, Matt Bencivenga. "It's not like preparing dinner for 12," he jokes.

He does, however, apply many of the same principles that work for preparing a small dinner party. That means organically grown and local — "California fresh" — whenever possible, except for those 10 pounds of winter black truffles imported from the south of France. He'll also be handling 200 pounds of yellowtail, 500 pounds of smoked salmon, 1,000 spiny lobsters and 50,000 organic heirloom baby vegetables.

Here's a look at the menu (the hors d'oeuvres alone could fill you up). Puck also shares recipes for some of the evening's starters and the main course. Prepare ahead of time, then sit down in front of the television to watch the Oscars on ABC.


  • Assortment of sushi: Maki rolls, spicy tuna, sweet shrimp
  • Smoked salmon on Oscar-shaped flatbread with caviar and crème fraîche
  • Mini-Kobe cheeseburgers with rémoulade and aged cheddar
  • Black truffle pizza with ricotta and thyme
  • Taro root taco with smoked lobster, avocado and pickled jalapeno

Trio of Puck's signature salads:

  • Artichoke salad with confit tomato, shaved Parmesan, arugula and lemon
  • Heirloom beets with oranges, almonds, goat cheese, citrus shallot vinaigrette
  • Asparagus with Iberico ham, black truffle aioli and mizuna leaves


  • Pan-roasted Dover sole with fennel, olives, haricot vert, tomatoes, lemon, sherry and olive oil
  • Butler-served vegetable risotto paella with saffron, white wine, chili and parsley

Desserts from executive pastry chef Sherry Yard:

  • Layers of lemon cheesecake, raspberry cremieux, cassis gelée, valrhona ivoire
  • Minichocolate Oscars, wrapped in gold (a star favorite — they love to take them home to their kids)


Smoked Salmon on Oscar Flatbread With Caviar and Crème Fraîche

Puck will serve the smoked salmon on Oscar-shaped flatbread. At home, you can use regular flatbread or try the recipe below using potatoes.

Yields: 4 to 6



1/2 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped

3 ounces caviar

3 shallots, minced

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

1 teaspoon minced fresh dill

Lemon juice

Stir together the crème fraîche or sour cream, shallots and dill. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Spread the flatbread with the crème fraîche mixture and cover with slices of smoked salmon. Lightly brush the smoked salmon with olive oil, then sprinkle with black pepper and remaining lemon juice. Cut into desired portions and garnish with chopped chives and caviar.

Or ...

Crispy Potato Galette With Dill Cream, Smoked Salmon and Sturgeon, and Osteria Caviar (Home version with potatoes)

Yields: 4 to 6


3 organic potatoes, peeled and grated

1/2 pound clarified butter

Kosher salt

Pinch of black pepper

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

3 shallots, minced

5 sprigs fresh dill, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced

1/2 pound smoked sturgeon, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped

3 ounces caviar

Toss grated potatoes in 1/4 pound clarified butter. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat 2 nonstick sauté pans over high heat until nearly smoking. Divide remaining butter between two pans. Add the potatoes evenly to each pan, and shape them into thick pancakes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then reduce heat. Sauté until almost golden brown. Use a spatula to check the underside of the pancake, turn over and cook other side until golden. Remove galettes from pans and warm in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Prepare dill cream: In a bowl, mix together shallots, dill, crème fraîche or sour cream, juice of 1/2 lemon and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Remove galettes from oven while still warm. Spread with dill cream and cover with slices of smoked salmon and sturgeon. Lightly brush the salmon and sturgeon with olive oil, then sprinkle with black pepper and remaining lemon juice.

Cut galettes into desired portions and garnish with chopped chives and caviar. Serve immediately.

Prime Miniburgers With Cheddar Cheese and Remoulade

Yields: 12


3/4 pound prime ground beef, such as Kobe-style

Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

12 small slices of cheddar cheese

12 mini-sesame broche buns

Remoulade (recipe below)

Arugula leaves

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced

3 cornichons, sliced

Preheat grill or grill pan.

Put the ground beef in a bowl and season with generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix together with your hands. Take a small amount (about two tablespoons worth) of the ground beef and roll it in the palm of your hands as if making meatballs. Flatten the top slightly and put the miniburger patties on a side plate. Drizzle the burgers with oil and season the tops with salt and pepper. Turn the burgers over and season the other sides.

Place burgers on the hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn over with tongs. Place slices of cheddar cheese on top, allowing it to melt on the burgers. While that's cooking, put the buns on the grill. Let them toast slightly, about two minutes on each side. Burgers go on top, cheese side up followed by arugula leaf, slice of tomato and slice of cornichon.

Remoulade: Yields 1 cup.

Combine 3/4 cup of store-bought or homemade thousand island dressing with 2 tablespoons of bottled barbecue sauce and a little bit of diced red onion. Stir to combine.

And if you really want to get fancy ...

Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones With Masago



4 ounces diced number 1 sushi grade tuna

1 tablespoon diced pickled ginger

1 teaspoon chopped scallions

1 tablespoon soy sauce/wasabi mixture (see below)

2 tablespoons spice chili mayonnaise (see below)


4 ounces (1/2 stick) butter

1 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup miso paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon powdered ginger

1/2 cup sesame seeds (1/4 cup black, 1/4 cup white)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter together with the corn syrup.
  3. Remove from the heat and whisk in miso paste and sesame oil.
  4. Sift the flour, continuously stirring. Add the ginger and sesame seeds.
  5. Bake in the oven on Silpats in 1 tablespoon portions for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for another two minutes. (Note: Silpat is the brand name of a popular silicone mat used in baking to provide a nonstick surface.)
  6. Remove from the baking sheets and form into miniature cones.


Assembly and presentation:


  1. Mix together tartare ingredients. Place in plastic pastry bag.
  2. Place cones (about 20) in cone holder. Place two daikon sprouts in each cone while piping in the tartare mixture.
  3. Top with masago roe, julienne bonito flake and chopped pickled ginger.


Soy sauce/wasabi mixture: made with 1/3 cup wasabi paste and 1 cup Japanese soy sauce. First, mix the wasabi paste with a little water, then mix with soy sauce. Be sure to shake or mix before every use.

Spicy chili mayonnaise: made with one 1 cup good-quality prepared mayonnaise, 1/3 cup plus 1/4 tablespoon chili sauce and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (Kadoya brand) all mixed together.

Oscar Paella

Yield: 1 serving



1/4 red pepper, diced

1/4 yellow pepper, diced

1 scallion, sliced very thin

1 garlic clove

1/4 red onion, diced

Place all ingredients into a sauté pan and cook slowly until the mixture has cooked down. It should begin to blend together forming a paste.

Vegetable Stock


1/2 fennel bulb

1/2 pound corn

2 celery stalks

1 white onion

1/2 carrot

1 cup of canned plum tomatoes

3 scallions

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon granulated onion

2 tablespoons Spanish paprika

Add enough water to cover all vegetables in the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Paella Topping


Fava beans

Haricot verts

Diced leeks

English peas

Chopped parsley

Blanch all vegetables in the vegetable stock.

Strain the vegetable stock, and add Sofrito.

Using 2 ounces long grain rice (Uncle Ben's will do) and 4 ounces paella stock per single serving, cook for 15 to 17 minutes at 375 degrees inside the oven. When cooked, let the paella rest for 5 minutes before serving. To finish the dish, cover with the blanched vegetables.

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