Oscars’ Party boosts vegan options

As Hollywood steps up efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, the Oscars’ big Governor’s Ball event will be going greener with an (almost) vegan menu.  The chef, Wolfgang Puck, says the menu will be 70% plant-based this year, including the desserts.  The organizers are pushing for a largely vegan menu at the post-Oscars party, which will cater for around 1500 people, although there will still be caviar, smoked salmon and Japanese beef for the non-vegans.

“We want everybody to be happy,” Puck told journalists during a tour of his kitchen where he was prepping for the extravaganza. “At the end of the day you can make vegan food taste really good and you won’t miss meat or fish.”

Puck, who worked at several top French restaurants before relocating to the US at age 24, says he is not vegan himself but he enjoys concocting vegan dishes at his many restaurants. He heads an empire of restaurants stretching from Beverly Hills to Singapore, where many creative chefs serve up some unique vegan dishes on their menus.  He consulted them to ask what they suggest for vegan dishes, and has added 18 different vegan dishes to the Oscars Party menu.

On the sweet side, most of the desserts will also be vegan, to the despair of some chefs who rely heavily on butter and eggs. “We managed to overcome the difficulties of not working with these ingredients by using lots of almond and coconut milk,” said Kamel Guechida, who heads a team of 25 pastry chefs preparing for the event. They’ve even created vegan Red Velvet Whoopie Pies!

Wolfgang Puck has been adding creative vegan dishes to the Governor’s Ball menu for 10 years now.  At the 2016 event, he served a variety of plant-based entrée bites but the fully vegan dessert bar, including cookies and cupcakes, was what made the headlines.  In 2019, he visited the Ellen DeGeneres Show to share his vegan Oscar creations with Ellen.  In 2020, the influence of Oscar winner and vegan activist Joaquin Phoenix led to the big awards events either fully eliminating or substantially reducing animal products from their menus.  This year’s Oscar party continues this tradition, although they don’t seem to be quite ready to go all the way just yet!