Wolfgang Puck makes everyone a winner at Oscar bash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wolfgang Puck will arguably be busiest man in Hollywood once the best motion picture Oscar is handed out Sunday night in Hollywood.

Chef Wolfgang Puck speaks at a preview of food to be served at the Governors Ball, during preparations for the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood March 4, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The 60-year-old celebrity chef must ensure the expected 1,600 guests who attend the post-Oscar Governors Ball, given by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be fed within 90 minutes.

“Most of them haven’t eaten all day long because they had to go the hairdressers and (do) make-up,” Puck said.

The Governors Ball is one of the premier Academy Award bashes where award winners and celebrities of various stripes kick off a night of revelry after the world’s top film honors. All the nominees are expected to be there, from George Clooney and Sandra Bullock to Quentin Tarantino and Meryl Streep.

“There’s not a bigger party than the Oscars here,” Puck told Reuters in a phone interview.

And beyond the Governors Ball, Puck will juggle two more affairs the same night -- an AIDS fund-raiser for singer Elton John and a bash at his own flagship restaurant, Spago.

Still, Puck’s first priority will be the Governors Ball, an event he has catered for the past 16 years.

To ensure everything runs smoothly, nearly 1,000 people including 300 chefs begin working around the clock starting Saturday, the Austrian-born chef said.

This year, guests will dine on crispy potato pancakes with smoked salmon and caviar, followed by black truffle chicken pot pies. They will end their meals with baked alaskas served along espresso ice-cream, chocolate sorbet and hazelnut meringue.

To end the three parties a high note, guests can take home their own Oscar statuettes made of chocolate and dusted in 24-carat gold. Puck and his staff are preparing 3,500 of them.

“Everybody is a winner if they come eat with us,” he said.

But when asked to name his Oscar pick for best movie, Puck admitted he saw none of the 10 nominated films including “Avatar,” one of the frontrunners for the award.

He recently ran into “Avatar” director James Cameron and asked for a DVD of his hit film. Puck recalled: “He said, ‘No. You have to go to the movie theater to see it in 3-D.’ I guess I’m a pretty bad business partner for them.”

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte