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Sweet charity: From the Governor’s Ball to the streets, post-Oscar food waste feeds many

Every year, from the time the first of 3,000 small plates are sent out to the 1,500 Academy Awards Governor’s Ball guests, until the last dish is washed, hundreds of pounds of food goes uneaten. This year, rich short ribs, an entire octopus, chilled soups, Parmesan funnel cakes and elaborate desserts — including edible “Oscar” statues — were on the menu, even though it is well known that celebrities and their entourages don’t eat much food.

The Academy Awards have always been the most lavish display of fame and fortune Hollywood offers-up each year, and guests of the many Oscar balls are known to consume plenty of champagne, and less of what's on the menu.

Which begs the question, what happens to all those lovingly prepared eats that are planned out months in advance by famous chefs like Wolfgang Puck? For the last 23 years, Puck’s kitchen has prepared the menu for the annual Governor’s Ball, the largest event, and his staff knows that many of their creations will exceed demand. Instead of wasting them, Puck has long partnered with food recovery organizations to deliver vast quantities of leftovers. Since his Spago days, in fact, said Jackie Kelly, one of his executive chefs in charge of Oscar prep and execution.


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