Special Events

Table-hop till you drop at Oscar Ball

Forget the place cards: The 79th annual Academy Awards Govenors Ball--slated for Feb. 25 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles--will offer an array of casual seating options and lavish buffets so the A-list guests get A-plus face time. At the annual press preview last week, event producer Cheryl Cecchetto of Los Angeles-based Sequoia Productions described the innovative concept of the 1,500-guest event as an "al fresco supper party" that will continue to offer "the romance, intimacy and grandeur of the ball."

PRETTY PAVILIONS

Guests will enter the ballroom through a massive wrought iron archway draped with vines and ivy. The ballroom will feature five "pavilions"--raised platforms upon which stand pergolas. Suggesting a night sky sparkling with stars, the pergolas will be woven with vines, sprays of rust-colored roses and twinkle lights. Wrought iron chandeliers with golden flame-bulb "tapers" will give a soft glow. The floor plan also includes a bar in the center of the room topped with a rotating Oscar statute and a half-moon stage rising above the dance floor.

A square buffet will be centered beneath each pergola, ringed by a countertop and barstools. Other seating options will include sleek, rust-colored Ultrasuede banquettes from L.A.-based Designer 8, a division of Classic Party Rentals, ottomans, wooden bar tables and stools, and rounds with high-backed chairs wrapped in tobacco-brown suede.

Table linen--in rich damasks, cutout velvets and embroidered satins--will feature a palette in shades of sage, russet, gunmetal blue and dusty gold. Flatware, from Los Angeles-based Unique Tabletop Rentals, will offer a silver body with a wooden handle and rivets. Plates are matte black squares.

FLOWERS AND FRUIT

L.A.-based Mark's Garden will handle floral, including centerpieces of oversize spheres of peach roses atop gold columns. Tendrils of baby ivy, kumquats and cocoa-brown pillars in hurricane lamps ground the elegant look.

L.A.-based Wolfgang Puck Catering returns to the ball, this year offering an entirely organic menu including "humanely treated" products, the company says. A dizzying array of tray-passed hors d'oeuvre, tapas and stations will complement the buffets.

BALANCING ACT?

Will stars in stilettos be able to balance their dinner plates while navigating the bountiful buffets? Cecchetto has no worries on that score. "We will have 25 maitre d's to escort guests throughout the event," she tells Special Events Magazine. Guests are welcome to fill their own plates or to sit where they please while servers present trays laden with tidbits. "The whole idea is that the choices are endless," Cecchetto says.

A virtual army of service staff will be on hand to treat the star guests to stellar service. Wolfgang Puck Catering president and CEO Carl Schuster tells Special Events that the ratio of staff to guests will be about one to six.

Tray-Passed Hors D'oeuvre
Lobster Tempura with Vanilla Bean and Pineapple
Mini Prime Cheeseburgers with Remoulade and Aged Cheddar
Spicy Tuna Tartare in a Sesame Miso Cone
Dungeness Crab Cake with Marinated Tomatoes and Basil Aioli
Smoked Salmon Pizza with French Farm-raised Osetra Caviar and Dill Creme Fraiche
Pizza with Italian White Truffles
Smoked Salmon 'Oscars' with French Farm-raised Osetra Caviar

Bar Tables
Marinated Olives with Rosemary, Chile and Orange
Flatbread and Grissini
Assorted Bruschetta

Tapas
Mini Gold-wrapped Baked Potato with French Farm-raised Osetra Caviar and Creme Fraiche
Roasted Pumpkin Squash Ravioli with Italian White Truffles
Potato Gnocchi Gratin with Gorgonzola
Chinois Chicken Salad with Candied Cashews, Crispy Wontons and Honey Sesame Dressing
Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crostini and Creamy Garlic Dressing
Chopped Chino Farms Vegetable Salad with Spiny Lobster and Osetra Caviar
Stir-fried Chicken Lettuce Cup with Thai Basil and Pinenuts
Miso-glazed Black Cod with Sticky Rice and Cucumbers
Celery Root and Apple Soup with Black Truffles
Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Toasted Hazelnuts and Citrus Shallot Vinaigrette

Sushi Station

Seafood Station

Buffet
Grilled Snake River Farms 'Kobe' Beef with Bordelaise Sauce
Wasabi Potato Puree
Roasted Organic 'Smart' Chicken Breast
Risotto with Black Truffles from Perigord, France
Spiny Lobster Shanghai-style with Crispy Spinach
Striped Bass en Croute with Sauce Choron
Stir-fried Chino Farms Organic Vegetables
Assorted Organic Breads

Oscar's Sweet Extravaganza Dessert
Meyer Lemon Bars
Valrhona Organic Chocolate Fudge
Hazelnut Marjolaine
McGrath Farm Strawberry Baked Alaska
Fuji Apple Strudel
Medjool Date Toffee Cake

Photos by Special Events Magazine

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