Sira-sira Store: Look, ma, no waste

Ober Khok

THE Telegraph recently published an article by Adam White on what happens to the food served at the Oscars. Be honest—that never crossed your mind; at least, I will admit I never thought that far. So, what happens to the food after one Oscar party ends?

Caterers crack their heads, as well as many eggs to make the carbonara, I think, to create outstanding dishes worthy of the stars. According to the article, lavish gourmet dishes are presented but since many Hollywood stars watch their diets like hawks watching their “hawklings” (may I call them that, although baby hawks are called eyas?), “much of the food ends up untouched.” Superstar chef Wolfgang Puck prepares every dish at the Oscars.

“Wow, Puck at the Oscars?” my precocious nephew Pannon asked.

“You know the guy?”

He replied, “Yep. In English folklore, Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a domestic and nature sprite, demon or fairy. I didn’t know he cooks.”

I laughed and said, “Not that Puck. This Puck is an Austrian-American who cooks, and has published a cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen. He is the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball.”

“Aw, I don’t care much about that,” Pannon said and left.

My friend Illustracio came a-visiting and heard enough of the conversation. “Obz, if I could gatecrash one of those parties, I’d slip a couple of roast beef slices, spare ribs and meat tarts in my made-to-order pants pocket. It looks like an ordinary pocket, but it has a long waterproof pouch to contain food. I hide it under a trendy trench coat.”

“Brilliant idea, Tras. I’ll have one of my pants done that way. But if I were a Hollywood star, I’d eat! After all, it’s just one night.”

To subsist on water and crackers for one night is how the article described how the stars keep the fat away. They might turn their backs on chicken pot pie or spare ribs, but to the rescue is Puck. And what he does is worth emulating.

According to Oscar executive chef Jackie Kelly, Puck is involved with charity work beyond the kitchen. He has been working with the LA Specialty and Chefs to End Hunger for six years now.

Kelly told Salon, an online arts and culture magazine, “Right around 11 at night [on Oscars day], when we know it’s starting to slow down, and the celebrities have moved on, we take a look at what we have left. The short ribs we expect to be left over, because people only take a little bite. The chicken pot pie is always left over, and pasta.”

At the end of the party, the crew gets busy packing the leftover food, not to take home, but to give away to people who need. Chefs to End Hunger has targeted recipients of its food donations around Los Angeles, Arizona and Nevada, helping people living in shelters and charities to a gourmet meal.

The organization doesn’t only come to life once a year, but throughout the year, with the ravishing Oscar menu as highlight of the food donations, thus giving the awards party some depth and soul.