A 100% Italian dinner for the Golden Globes in Los Angeles

Chatting with Alberico Nunziata, chef at the Beverly Hilton. He’ll prepare the gala dinner for 1300 VIPs, broadcasted live

28-12-2017

Chefs Giambattista Vinzoni and Alberico Nunziata with our Francesca Zanetti

I was invited to the exclusive presentation of the menu to be served on the 7th of January at the Golden Globes award ceremony, in Beverly Hills. Together with colleagues from press and television from all around the world, on the 14th of December, with little over a month to go, we got a preview of the menu and the dishes they will serve during the ceremony. With us, colleagues from Rai, with whom we interviewed the executive chef of the night, Italian Alberico Nunziata.

The view from the Beverly Hilton

The view from the Beverly Hilton

The press review was held on the top floor of the Beverly Hilton, overlooking Beverly Hills, the hills of Hollywood, the skyscrapers of Los Angeles. This will be the 75th edition of the Golden Globes, the 47th at the Beverly Hilton. The Golden Globes are one of the most awaited ceremonies in the award calendar for cinems and television, a season that starts with the Palm Springs Film Festival, followed by the Golden Globes, then the Sag Awards, the Emmys and of course the Oscars.

Out of all these events celebrating cinema – and television – the Golden Globes are the only ones to include a dinner during the ceremony. This is something quite remarkable as the menu, for 1300 guests, must be planned so the serving time can be flexible, as it must follow the live broadcast – the ceremony is broadcasted by 140 televisions all around the world.

The menu

The menu

The dress rehearsals showed an elegant table setting with the dishes they’ll serve. The executive chef at the Beverly HiltonAlberico Nunziata, created these. He will have the honour of creating and supervising the dinner for the second year in a row. This time the menu is completely inspired by his origins, with 90% Italian ingredients: a sort of ode to Italy and its excellences. 

Nunziata is a famous face among TV lovers. He participated in the first edition of MasterChef Italia, in 2011. Born in 1977 in San Gennaro Vesuviano (Naples), he was an air force non-commissioned officer from 1998 to 2010. After the experience on television he moved to the United States where he began his career as chef: from March 2016 he’s the executive chef at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Nunziata in front of the cameras

Nunziata in front of the cameras

He told us he got the inspiration for the menu during a recent holiday in Italy, in Apulia, last summer. He wanted to present fresh, simple and light dishes: Delicata, that is to say Apulian burrata with small sweet tomatoes, Opal basil, taggiasche olives, friselle, garlic flowers, toasted and roasted pumpkin, sweet purple potato, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar extravergine as starter, then Mediterranean sea bass on a rice cake with parmigiano and baby Golden Striped beets, tapenade with olives form Castelvetrano, broccoli flowers, yellow pumpkin and courgettes, finally Efendi, that is to say Coffee and white chocolate cream, biscuit with coffee liquor, Frangelico with mascarpone, gianduia chocolate and Piedmontese hazelnuts. Then, at the party, Roman bomboloni for everyone.

The three dishes Alberico Nunziata created with Swiss pastry chef Thomas Henzi

The three dishes Alberico Nunziata created with Swiss pastry chef Thomas Henzi

He says: «In order to serve 1300 guests in 45 minutes you must design a menu that can be prepared in advance, and then just warmed up». This is only possible using special “hot boxes” which keep the dish at the right temperature for one hour at most. «So you must select recipes that are simple and made with ingredients that can preserve flavour and structure even when cooked in advance». The rice cake with parmigiano reggiano will be the base for the sea bass, a delicate dish that can stand high temperatures. The olive tapenade will enrich this.

The Golden Globes dinner

The Golden Globes dinner

Nunziata says a one night event, on the night of the Golden Globes, requires many months of work, studying the dishes (he prepared and presented 30 dishes to the Hollywood Foreign press which then selected the final menu), selecting and finding the ingredients and then fine tuning the staff. Plus one must take into account that on the Golden Globes night the Beverly Hilton will host not just the ceremony with 1300 seated VIPs (actors, producers, directors…) but many more parties too. Overall, what with the guests coming for the Golden Globes, those for the viewing party and the after parties celebrating the 25 winners, they expect some 4500 guests, all of whom must eat. This year there will be 4 parties in total, the largest one being HBO’s with 1000 guests: they will also have an Italian dinner thanks to the menu prepared by Giambattista Vinzoni, who works with Nunziata.

How many cooks and staff do you need for a dinner for 1300 guests? Nunziata’s staff includes 75 chefs de cuisine, but for this event they’ll need an extra hand, especially for the dishing out. So they selected 30 students from the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California in Los Angeles who, together with their chef director Mauro D. Rossi, will work for 3 days in the kitchen studying the best presentation for the dishes. It will be nice to see Rossi, another Italian participating in the event. He collaborates with Nunziata thanks to his work at the Italy America Chamber of Commerce West in Los Angeles, which created the contact.

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California in Los Angeles

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California in Los Angeles

The Golden Globes dinner was specifically designed by the chef so as to consider many dietary restrictions (for instance, the menu is entirely gluten free) and an obvious “aesthetic” requirement as the ceremony will be seen all over the world and guests are among the most prominent people in the cinema industry. Nunziata for the first time this year decided to serve a single main course, instead of the fish and meat courses served in the past. This so that the work is not so complex and to better honour Italian cuisine.

As the chef pointed out, «anyone could easily make this menu in Italy, but here in California it’s harder», first of all for the number of guests, but most of all because some Italian ingredients are not always available fresh and in such quantities. They will fly straight from Italy.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso