By Sue Facter
Last week, the press was granted a sneak-peak into one of the most celebrated nights of the year, the Governors Ball, held at the West Hall in the Los Angeles Convention Center after the 65th annual Emmy Awards. This is the largest annual sit-down dinner held in the U.S. Other than having dinner at breakfast, and being more casual than in formal wear, you actually felt like you were a celebrated guest at the Ball!
Where do we begin? The theme: Enchanted Forest, designed with huge stylized trees and a canopy of faux futuristic foliage, extending out over thousands of square feet the size of two football fields. All that was missing was Dorothy!
Expected guests for the real deal: 3,800. 10,000 pieces of china, 5,000 wine glasses, 3,500 champagne flutes, 1,200 staff on site with 200 technicians and 215 cooks in the kitchen. 18 Executive Chefs on site with 85 managers, 45 bartenders, 50 musicians, and 250 waiters.
Basic prep takes place at the Patina Central Catering kitchen over a five-day period. 6,000 candles. 3,900 labor hours in creating floral centerpieces, with bigger-than-life sized personality, Kevin Lee of Premiere Flowers at the helm. He used silver manzanita branches and an abundance of calla lilies, roses, and orchids. Think the most beautiful wedding you’ve ever seen times 10.
For the sixteenth consecutive year, Sequoia Productions produced this massive party. The company’s founder and president, Cheryl Cecchetto outdid herself. Says Cheryl, “We create experiences, not events. We design everything from design to menu, including security, entertainment, floral, and lighting.”
We grabbed a few minutes with Gregg Wiele, Patina’s Corporate Executive Chef. “Although we prep much of the food five days in, we do the protein the same day.” We also met with Alan Lestr, Executive Chef Patina Catering.
First course: Little Gem Lettuce Salad paired with 2011 Beaulieu Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay. The salad: basil-scented mozzarella, marinated sun-ripened tomatoes, heirloom baby beets, cider maple syrup and sunflower seeds, basil chips, and virgin olive oil.
Main course: Beef Filet Mignon consisting of red wine braised short rib, cipollini onion, potato-pear gratin and asparagus, paired with 2009 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. A limited edition special bottle was designed and given to all the Emmy recipients.
Dessert: Caramelia Namelaka, which is devil’s food cake, roasted cherries and Mascarpone Cream. Also: Marich chocolate stations consisting of a variety of flavors were paired with 2010 Beaulieu Vineyard Maestro Collection Napa Valley Port and Muscat de Beaulieu. Marich, a gourmet chocolatier and second-generation California family business, was founded by the van Dam family.
Other sponsors: L’Oreal Paris, Images by Lighting LLC, Resource One Inc, Audi of America, and Grey Goose for thee official Emmy cocktail.
Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. She has been covering the Emmys for several decades. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Women’s Day Australia, as well as on broadcasts and the web.