The secret to a successful awards-show meal? Hold the parsley.
Author Michael Kaplan
LOS ANGELES—In the lead-up to this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards show, the red carpet at the Shrine Auditorium is a mob scene of famous folks decked out in designer finery. One attendee in particular stands out, possibly because she’s the only one whose ensemble is spattered with sauce.
Suzanne Goin, a James Beard Award-winning chef and co-owner of L.A. celeb-magnet Lucques, is on her fourth stint as caterer for the SAG Awards—and she knows how to work a red carpet. “I always make the food look good for a big, wide-angle shot,” she says, holding a platter and moving through the surging crowd with remarkable ease.
Goin and her crew have already had a busy day. They spent the morning preparing 1,200 plates of beef, beets and slow-roasted salmon in a Beverly Hills kitchen, then trucked it all over to an enclosure in the Shrine parking lot for plating. Now the food is being delivered to the tables before guests are seated, to be eaten during the show.
“We make a huge effort to keep the whole thing from looking sloppy,” Goin says. “You want three things on that one plate, barely touching, to make it not look like a kid’s meal.”
Equally important: No scraps of food must sully a celebrity’s Valentino or, worse, get wedged between an award recipient’s teeth. “We did a lot of no-parsley,” Goin says of this year’s menu. “We did a beef tenderloin, thinly sliced, so it can be eaten with just a fork.”
For all the pressure she faces during these events, Goin finds that they do have a significant upside. “Sometimes,” she says, “we get to eat what we serve.”