VIDEO: Oscars Governors Ball Sneak Peek – In The Kitchen With Wolfgang Puck

With all the The Oscars buzz going on, I must admit something. As much as I admire all the actors’ talents for their craft, what really gets me excited is knowing what the stars will be eating after Hollywood’s biggest night.

That’s why when Wolfgang Puck invited me in for a very special behind-the-scenes look at his incredible catering operation from the prep kitchens at Hollywood & Highland, I was over the moon.

Upon getting our exclusive credentials, we got our very own Press Guide to take us through The 88th Oscars construction and setup to get to Wolfgang Puck Catering’s massive prep kitchen. As soon as the doors opened and I peeked in, I saw a virtually endless array of edible art, in the form of brightly colored hors-d’oeuvres, dishes and desserts. Check out the video for some colorful glimpses!

When I arrived, Chef Wolfgang’s all-star team was working away diligently on filling thousands of fresh artichoke-truffle agnolotti pasta, spraying 24-karat gold onto intricate, mini chocolate replicas of the Oscar statuette, and so much more. It really was a well-oiled machine, with meticulous care put into every detail.

Tanaya's Table Wolfgang Puck Oscars Gold Chocolate

After wandering around and chatting with the chefs, we gathered around the one and only Chef Wolfgang Puck for a very warm, intimate cooking demonstration from the legend himself. Despite his renowned stature, he spoke with us as if he knew us personally, like he was cooking for us out of his own kitchen.

As he told stories of how his children help him in the kitchen, and which famous friends of his like which types of his dishes, he cooked up a shrimp, crab and scallop dish with a flavorful Chinese sauce. Check out the video for a shot of him flambée-ing!

Some of the cool tidbits I learned through conversation with him include the fact that although Wolfgang enjoys food with bold flavors, he understands that there are many guests at these large-scale events who still enjoy his truffle chicken pot pie, baked mac and cheese, and other comfort classics. Thus, he makes sure to include something for every palate in the 50+ items he creates for the Governors Ball, which he’s catered for the past 22 years!

Wolfgang also mentioned that not as many celebrities have gone vegan or gluten-free as one might think (although he does have options of each on the vast menu). He explained that after weeks of not eating too much in order to prepare for the awards show, “They tell me, ‘Wolfgang, give me all the food!'”

Tanaya's Table Wolfgang Puck Oscars Caviar

Included among “all the food” will be mini crispy bibimbap, a poke bar, stone crab claws and oysters at the seafood bar, baked potatoes with caviar (pictured), white grape and almond gazpacho, and wagyu short rib. Talk about edible opulence!

Now, if you know me, you know my sweet tooth jumped for joy when I saw the mini setup of the Chocolate Buffet they’ll have at the Governors Ball. Among the 30+ types of desserts to be served, a few include: Caramel-filled Oscars statuette lollipops, a macaron tower, sweet tacos with pistachio lady fingers and market cherries, mini yuzu tarts, chocolate peanut butter ring dings, raspberry panna cotta with champagne caviar, and lemon meringue tart lollipops. There really will be something for everyone, from celebs who prefer familiar classics, to those who enjoy a little extra elegance and flair!

Tanaya's Table Wolfgang Puck Oscars Desserts

I also learned that Wolfgang Puck also caters international awards shows all over the world! I love that when we asked how he chooses the menu for each prestigious event, he said he chooses based on what’s seasonal, local, and what his carefully curated suppliers have available for him.

Even for The Oscars, the team has been going on multiple trips to the local farmer’s market, and has sourced ingredients from local farms, orchards, dairies and ranches.

To give you an idea of the scale of the operation (of which you can start to get an idea through the video), The Oscars Governors Ball will have 1500 guests, with a whopping 950 staff to cater to their wants and needs. The culinary staff consists of 350 talented people. To name a few ingredients, they will be working with 10 kilos of American farm-raised caviar and 350 pounds of Atlantic Bigeye tuna.

Heck, there will even be 15 pounds of winter black truffles straight from Burgundy, France and 300 pounds of Snake River Wagyu short rib. There will also be 6,500 wood-fired, Oscar-shaped  flatbread!

As for dessert, 3o pounds of edible real gold dust will be used, as well as 100,000 pieces of dark chocolate Couverture pistoles and 2400 bottles of Piper Heidsieck champagne. The coolest part is that there are 3,000 custom Oscar boxes to house the infamous gold-covered chocolates, and Wolfgang Puck personally handed me one as a parting gift! Guess there’s only 2,999 of them left now!

Tanaya's Table Wolfgang Puck Oscars Me

Thanks to Chef Wolfgang Puck and his catering team for a special behind-the-scenes experience I’ll never forget… and for handing me this 24-karat gold covered, solid chocolate Oscar statuette!

If you’re hosting an Oscars watch party, check out some of the recipes you can make, straight from Wolfgang Puck… that way, you’ll be dining like the stars during Hollywood’s biggest night! Check out the recipes on the Wolfgang Puck Catering official page.

This year more than ever, I will be immersed in all things Oscars… especially because I’m grateful to have gotten a taste of what the stars will be gorging on after the show ends. 😉 Cheers!

 

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Behind The Scenes At The GRAMMYs Gift Lounge

When you think of the perks of stardom, you really have no idea just how many mindblowing treats they get… especially when they’re performing or presenting at the GRAMMY Awards®.

Having been invited to get an insider tour of the 58th Annual GRAMMY® Gift Lounge, I’m happy to give you a little taste of what it’s like to be pampered for your musical talents (or journalistic talents, in my case… ha ha).

Over the course of GRAMMY weekend, presenters and performers such as Adele, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Sam Hunt, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, Lionel Richie, Johnny Depp and Little Big Town experienced the interactive lounge in which they received thank you gifts in acknowledgment of their participation in “Music’s Biggest Night.”

Tanaya's Table GRAMMY LL Cool J WireImage

Rapper LL Cool J eyeing those chocolates (WireImage)

The day I visited the cushy lounge set up next to Staples Center (where the GRAMMYs would be held) a couple days before the awards show, tons of talent like 5-time host LL Cool J, Diplo and Bow Wow also dropped by to check out the goods curated by Lash Fary and Distinctive Assets.

The LA-based entertainment marketing company is known for starting the celebrity swag bag craze 16 years ago, so I guess we have them to thank in part for the ironic concept that the more rich and famous you get, the more free stuff you get. I mean, each gift bag was apparently worth a whopping $22,000 with all the curated goodies inside!

Tanaya's Table GRAMMY Bow Wow Diplo WireImage

Musical artists Bow Wow and Diplo (WireImage)

So without further ado, I present you with the scoop on some of the coolest toys, tools and treats I found inside the exclusive star-studded GRAMMYs gift lounge:

Tools By Gina – Pure infrared professional blow dryers and flat irons from hair expert Gina Rivera. The infrared technology is the first of its kind, steaming the hair instead of applying direct heat, thus restoring natural shine.

Phillip Ashley Chocolates’ Luxe Collection – Chocolate covered caramels infused with Louis XIII cognac, with each piece weighing 30 grams and hand-gilded with 23k gold leaf. It costs $3,000 for one seven-piece box, making it one of the top ten most expensive chocolates in the world. Insane, right?

Tanayas Table GRAMMY Chocolate Gold Louis XIII

Louis XIII Cognac-infused, 23k gold leaf $3,000 chocolates

FitClubTV: Live in Fitness retreat + Fit Culture Threads designer workout apparel + Fit Culture Fuel health & performance supplements – Loved the passion behind all of these lines geared towards fitness, and especially loved that they’re giving back with a ton of free workout videos and more with the launch of FitClubTV.

Tanayas Table GRAMMY Hat

Loved this Flos Floris snapback hat

Flos Floris snapback hats from Milan, Italy – Universal appeal, cool design, comfy to wear. What more can you ask for?

Tanayas Table GRAMMY Drink

The Price of Love cocktail

Custom cocktails & mixology from The Natural Mixologist – I really liked The Price of Love cocktail made with Penthouse The Scarlet Sparkling Shiraz, organic orange elixir, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and orange liqueur. I especially loved that it was garnished with tiny heart-shaped rose petals.

Tanaya's Table GRAMMY LL Cool J Drink WireImage

LL Cool J sipping the cocktails I just tried! (WireImage)

NOON VR headsets – Loved the realistic smooth-panning, 360-degree visuals!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2016

Trying out NOON Virtual Reality

SCUF Gaming Infinity 1 professional customized controllers and accessories – Gamers will geek out over how insanely customizable and comfortable these controllers are. I personally loved the red and black one! Check out all the specs if you’re into gaming.

SIS by Simone I. Smith jewelry – Created by LL Cool J’s wife after she won the battle with cancer, she started this line in partnership with the American Cancer Society. Find out more on these adorable candy-esque trinkets for a good cause here.

Tanaya's Table GRAMMY Candy Jewelry

Candy SIS by Simone I. Smith jewelry to help fight cancer (WireImage)

truth x Vans by Kevin Lyons one-of-a-kind sneakers that encourage everyone to use their voices and creativity to end smoking for good – I absolutely LOVED the concept of their newest #CATmageddon campaign, with the main message being that you are harming your pets and increasing their risk of cancer if you smoke.

Tanayas Table GRAMMY truth Vans

Secondhand smoke harms your pets, too. So PLEASE STOP!

They even had truth Treats for pets so that celebs’ furry friends waiting for them at home wouldn’t feel left out while their owners were out performing or presenting GRAMMYs! Find out how you can snag the statement shoes for a great cause, and see what they actually look like right here.

“It is a true honor to be even a very small part of (The GRAMMYs),” said Distinctive Assets’ founder Lash Fary. “The GRAMMY Gift Lounge has become one of the most lauded gift events in the world, which seems fitting based on the incomparable stature of the show itself.” Lash Fary was joined by longtime event producer Pam Morrison, who oversaw all elements of the lounge design.

I’m definitely very grateful for the opportunity to get a taste of what kind of star treatment the GRAMMYs talent gets in the Gift Lounge, and to experience a lot of it for myself… especially since the GRAMMYs are one of my favorite awards shows every year! Until next time, cheers! 🙂

 

Join the #fdbloggers Twitter Chat Today at 12pm PDT – I’m Hosting, Too!

Hi guys! The lovely Loriley Sessions of the UK-based #fdbloggers Twitter chat has graciously handed over the hosting reins to me this week!

I’ve been excited to host the weekly conversation with foodies and bloggers from around the world, and the day is finally here!

So, in about an hour, I will be hosting a foodie Twitter chat that I hope you can join in on to connect with a bunch of wonderful people who love food and meeting others!

To join in, you can connect with me @TanayaG on Twitter and follow the #fdbloggers hashtag. Topic is The Social Foodie. All things food in the social aspect, online and in the real world! Hope to see you there today at 12pm PDT. Everyone is welcome to join in!

Celebrating National Hot Dog Month At DogHaus

Were you, by any chance, aware that July is National Hot Dog Month? After doing a little fact-checking, I found that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council even confirms this! It only makes sense, since summer is grilling season, right?

To celebrate, I had the opportunity to try DogHaus for the first time. I’d been meaning to try it for quite some time after hearing all the hype, so talk about perfect timing! DogHaus has even brought on chef and TV personality Adam Gertler as their Würstmacher, and I’d actually interviewed him back in 2012 (interview right here). This would be the first time I’d get to taste these creations… so naturally, all signs pointed to yes, let’s try this place already!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

DogHaus has multiple locations around Southern California, and just recently opened its first franchised location in Canoga Park. I visited DogHaus Biergarten, located in Old Town Pasadena, and found it to have a unique vibe and a great selection of craft brews and knowledgeable staff to go along with its innovative dogs.

Biergarten Manager Tony Pereyra is a jack of all trades, even lending his bartending and event coordination skills to the Biergarten location’s success. He and most of the staff have worked at the space even before DogHaus came into existence, about 3 years ago. Tony sat down to chat with us, and explained that the uniqueness of the spot lends itself to the location.

Since it’s a bit off the beaten path (you have to enter through a side alley– pretty cool!), and not in your typical nightlife-filled area, I had to ask why they stayed open until midnight or 2 a.m., depending on the night. Turns out, late weeknights become impromptu industry nights, as staff from surrounding restaurants have made DogHaus Biergarten their go-to late night spot to mingle after-hours.

Now that’s a cool story and all, you might say, but how is the actual food? Here’s the lowdown on these uber-cool hot dawgs:

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The “One Night in Bangkok” Dog

The “One Night in Bangkok” is one for the adventurous flavor-seekers, and for those who like a bit of heat on their dogs. If you’re bored with the traditional hot dog, this baby is for you. The juicy Thai red currywurst packs a nice amount of heat. The cucumber kimchi relish adds acidity to cut through the heartiness of the meat, the richness of the creamy cilantro aioli, and the saltiness of the crunchy peanuts sprinkled atop the dog. There are definitely some amazing Asian flavors packed between those sweet Hawaiian buns!

As an added bonus, the staff can readily suggest drink pairings, as the food and beverage menus influence one another to stay on top of the latest food trends. Tony recommended an IPA with this spicy wurst, as the bitter earthiness and subtle spicy tones would complement the flavors in the food. “The hops in the beer cool down the palate,” he explained with excitement. “At the end of the day, it’s all about product knowledge.”

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The “Sooo Cali” Dog

The “Sooo Cali” Dog has some classic SoCal flavors lying between those two signature Hawaiian bread buns. On this all-beef skinless dog, you’ll find fresh tomato and buttery avocado slices, along with an aromatic basil aioli and some fried onions for a nice crunch. This hot dog, being one of the originals since the first DogHaus location, has won awards from the likes of L.A. Weekly a couple years ago.

Just a few months ago, chef Michael Brown joined the DogHaus team. Just to give you an idea of his culinary chops: he’s been involved with Red O’s opening, and has also served as executive chef at Google and the Nike World Headquarters before heading to the DogHaus to become culinary director. I can’t wait to see what’s next on their ever-evolving menu the next time I’m in Pasadena!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

So much good stuff!

At this particular lunchtime feast, there were tater tots, French fries and coleslaw galore. So many sides, plus Tony insisted we try a couple happy hour items as well. So good! Let’s just say that if you came here a few times a week, every week, you still wouldn’t get bored anytime soon.

DogHaus Biergarten has late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to close, and Sundays truly are Sunday Fundays with an all-day, all-night happy hour. Happy hour favorites include the $1 burger sliders with white American cheese, caramelized onions and a dab of mayo (pictured above… and absolutely delicious).

The mini all-beef corndogs with a root beer and cornmeal batter are also a favorite come happy hour, along with great craft beers and more. You can check it all out here, or just stop by when you’re in the area. I definitely plan on going back soon, especially when I don’t feel like grilling in the heat!

Speaking of grilling season, some of my favorite toppings for DIY summer grilling include pickled red onions, sliced avocado with lime, Sriracha aioli, fruity Not Ketchup (so many great flavors!), or some good ol’ whole grain mustard with a zing. I’m always on the lookout for some interesting topping ideas, so if you have any go-to’s, feel free to holler. More summer finds to come!

“Chef” Movie: 3 PR Lessons And A Lie Wrapped in a Chef’s Coat

Below is a guest post I wrote for the PRSA Young Professionals blog on “Chef” and the public relations industry. The film resonated with me on many levels. Not only from the PR perspective, but also many other facets of my identity– writer, food editor, travel lover, budding entrepreneur… and most of all, foodie adventurer. I wouldn’t willingly watch many movies over and over, but I’d definitely watch “Chef” again!

I hope you get to see (or have seen) this movie, and that you enjoy(ed)  it as much as I did!

 

Young Professionals of PRSA LA

Chef-2014-Movie-Poster1-650x955by Tanaya Ghosh

While watching the much-lauded film, “Chef,” I noticed that a lot of things actually made sense about the film. Not just the accuracy of the culinary scenes (which, too, were spot-on), but also a few aspects related to public relations. Being a PR strategist but also having worked on the journalism side, I found myself cheering the film on for some very important points it successfully illustrated. My hope is that this will help those not in our industry to better understand a few things about our work as well.

Not to fear, I won’t give away any critical parts of the movie. “Chef” is not strictly for foodies, because the human element of the film also resonates strongly. But seeing as we are PR folks who view the world through our uniquely strategic lenses, here are the 3 ways “Chef” draws attention to some important PR truths:

1. The Dangers, Benefits and Viral…

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