The Academy Awards Dining Scene

There are a few things we can count on every year surrounding the Oscar buzz. The show will be filled with surprise speeches, traffic will increase around the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and the A-list will be well fed for Hollywood’s biggest night. 

As soon as the last award is given at the 96th Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday, March 10, guests from Bradley Cooper to Margot Robbie and Steven Spielberg will head to the Governors Ball where Master Chef Wolfgang Puck and his team of 120 chefs will cater a lavish spread with small plate food stations, tray-passed treats and a buffet of sweets.

Puck has been throwing this party for the past 30 years and for over a dozen years, his 29-year-old son Byron Lazaroff-Puck has become an integral part of the event as well.  What is new this year? “Byron is cooking,” quipped Puck. All jokes aside, “Not even close! You need a good team to execute something at this high-level for this many people,” Lazaroff-Puck told the Courier. “And my dad, of course.”

“It can get a little nerve-wracking during those final moments,” Lazaroff-Puck told the Courier. “But whether you are at the ballroom in Hollywood or at Spago in Beverly Hills, the execution and quality is the same,” he added.

“We always do something traditional and then we have new menu items,” added Puck. New on the menu this year is an international array of Spanish paella, Peking duck, and Wagyu beef, plus the Iberico ham carving station will be back.  


Raul Garrido, Master Carver and Cinco Jotas
Photos by Al Seib / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Of course, a few favorites from black truffle chicken pot pie to cacio e pepe macaroni and cheese, along with the English pea agnolotti will be back by popular demand. “We always have the smoked salmon Oscars with caviar,” added Puck.  And what would an Oscar celebration be without the famous pizza? This year, the options include a mushroom truffle and a pepperoni with Calabrian honey, to name a few standouts. 

Every sweet tooth will be satisfied with the Norie Reserve Chocolate Oscar pops “spray-painted” with gold, and filled with vegan Scotch Ganache, along with chocolate cigars, bars and eclairs.

Partners for the event include Chefs to End Hunger, Weiser Family Farms and Harry’s Berries to name a few. “With a great team, we can do anything,” said Puck.

Culinary matters aside, Puck is rooting for “Oppenheimer” to win, and his son is excited to hopefully meet Cillian Murphy this year. “I was always a huge fan of ‘Peaky Blinders,’ said the young chef. And to finally see him have the leading role and the way he conducted himself in ‘Oppenheimer,’ getting to feed him will be a treat.”


Israel Barón, 2023 Mexico World Class Bartender of the Year

As for wines, the crowd will be toasting with the newly released Petite Fleur de Miraval, from the only Champagne house exclusively devoted to Rosé, Brad Pitt’s, Château Miraval estate in the South of France. This vintage will be available after the festivities at Dante at Maybourne Beverly Hills.

For the second year, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, Chairman and CEO of Clarendelle Wine will be on hand pouring wines from his fourth-generation family company, Domaine Clarence Dillon. If you will not be attending the ball this year, but hosting an at-home gathering, the premium Bordeaux wines can be found at and K&K, from the red and white varietals to a rare La Clarté  de Haut-Brion 2017 and La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion 2010 and coming soon to the wine list at Spago in Beverly Hills.


Evan Funke at the Vanity Fair preview
Photo by Frank Lee

“Hopefully, they will have some wine left for us, so when it’s over, we can sit down with the whole team,” said Puck.

Don Julio partnered with the Academy for the Governors Ball again this year, with non-alcoholic options from Seedlip. Globally acclaimed mixologist Charles Joly and Mexico Bartender of the Year Israel Barón spent countless hours preparing the cocktail experience—including the 1942 Encore, Round of Applause, and It’s Showtime—made from different tequila expressions.

The drinks will require nearly two tons of watermelons, 12,000 leaves of epazote, over 18,000 kernels of corn, 27,000 sprigs of coriander and enough tarragon to stretch the length of three Olympic-sized pools just to satiate the crowd.

Following the Ball, back in Beverly Hills, pizza will again play a leading role at the Vanity Fair party this year presented by Nespresso. Held at the custom-built venue at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Chef Evan Funke and his Funke in Beverly Hills is catering the star-studded affair. 

Winners and nominees will dine on the award-winning chef’s signature thin-crust pies that will include a classic Buffalo mozzarella margarita, and a citrusy Meyer-lemon Amalfitana with a zing of peperoncino, among others, offered at the chef’s pizza bar, along with ricotta-stuffed zucchini blossoms, fried artichoke, and meatballs. 

An hour-long livestream of the event will be available on both and Vanity Fair’s YouTube channel. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 96th Oscars will air live on ABC and broadcast outlets worldwide on March 10 at the new time of 4 p.m.