Confession: Ever since I was about 7 years-old, I’ve had a dream of having a culinary TV show. It all started with PBS. In between wrapping up my social studies homework and heading to swim practice I’d flip on “Great Chefs, Great Cities,” and “Yan Can Cook.” I was hooked. It was inspiring and utterly fascinating that I could get an intimate glimpse of cultures that I was so far removed from living in San Fernando Valley suburbia.
Fast forward a few decades, and culinary television has exploded. Now there are multiple channels dedicated to the craft and a multimillion dollar industry to back it. In fact, last year Top Chef took home their first Emmy.
In years gone by, there wouldn’t have been a reason to invite a food writer to something like an Emmy’s preview party, or even have one for that matter. Yet there I was — along with hordes of other broadcast, digital and print journos — reporting on what the lucky primetime stars would be eating at this year’s Governors Ball. With all the hooplah and cameras, it seemed like what the celebs would be eating was almost as important as what they’d be wearing. (Almost.)
Given the magnitude of the primetime Emmys, it would be nearly unfathomable to sick any catering company aside from Patina on the gig. Joachim Splichal and his talented bunch of professionals have it down to a science, having catered the event on 15 previous occasions.
Patina took the seemingly mundane and added a modern twist to step in line with the “mod illusions” theme. Diners will start out with an heirloom tomato salad from Windrose Farms, then move on to a filet mignon paired with Vermont white cheddar mac and cheese gratin and some rainbow baby carrots. The plating of each course was whimsical and elegant, utlizing height and negative space quite beautifully. The variety of color on each plate popped off the backdrop of the black and white tablecloths. Those visual elements paired with the floating floral arrangements really gave the space a Tim Burton-esque feel.
I was, however, taken aback by the fact that they didn’t showcase a vegetarian option for all the vegans/vegos in Hollywood, but I was told by one of the flack that there will indeed be some meatless items. Considring how many stars have posed for PETA lately, they’d better get to work.
But if they are stuck eating just salad and dessert, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Playfully plated dessert medleys or farandole — with all sorts of sweet nibbles like macarons (which were somewhat misshapen for the preview, but I’m sure they’ll work that out), gold flaked brownies and blackberry cream — will be passed around for the third course. If that isn’t enough sugar to keep everyone up through the daylong event, there will also be cake pops. I know, snore. But honeslty, Patina did something magical with that Duncan Hines mix that made the triple chocolate orange liqueur pop so ooey gooey, it was almost like a molten cake or fudge on a stick.
The pops (and the rest of the preview for that matter) would have gone great with a cup of joe. I have to say it was a massive oversight to not have some sort of espresso, cappuccino, or even some truck stop-style coffee on hand for the swaths of reporters present at the 8:30 a.m. event.
No matter, I’m sure the waiters will take care of me when I get my Emmy. Hey, a girl can dream, right?
[UPDATE, 8/23 at 2: 03 p.m.: PR just informed me that the veg option has been announced: Brentwood corn agnolotti with chanterelles, hazelnuts, scallions and lime brown butter.]