“I never thought I would be here.”
“I mean, I’ve thought about it many times but to be here in this very moment once seemed so farfetched that I almost let the idea go. We’ve all done it, where we let ideas and dreams slip through our hands. Maybe we were too scared of what others would say or what people would think. But I’m thankful that I didn’t let this one go. I’m thankful to Christ, family and friends, and to all the plates that sacrificed themselves for my journey. Thankful because now I stand with an Emmy for best Critical Analysis and Cynicism in Restaurant Blogging and Reviewing and it feels incredible to receive this all because I decided to Follow My Gut.”
That’s the seventh draft of my acceptance speech for food blogging. I’m still trying to cut it down, but it should be ready by the time I win the award. An Emmy, Pulitzer, Noble Peace Prize, or all of them. Whichever one I receive first, the speech will be good to go. In that instance, I was saying my speech while at the Emmy Awards Governors Ball Press Preview holding an actual Emmy award. Whether the award in my hand would go to someone I had no clue, but the elation that I could hold the award and say my speech, even for pretend, was a dream considering what it means to the nominees who win them.
After pulling myself out of my speech daydream I came back to reality. I was invited to the Emmy Award’s press preview to photograph and review the food that would be served and the brands that would be in attendance. Standing in the hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center it was clear that a significant amount of time and detail was taken to bring the event to life. To execute the event’s theme of “Golden Grandeur” a team of 125 managers and 300 technicians worked over 5,000 hours to make it all real while designers spent more than 3,700 hours to produce all the linens alone. 7,500 cable ties to set the black fabric throughout the room, 5,000 paper tubes hanging from the ceiling, and 2,700 yards of fabric covering the ceiling beam was just a fraction of the setup necessary to make the room look the way that would glisten on screen
While the setup was done beautifully, the table decorations and place settings caught my attention immediately. For the 8,500 guests in attendance the space was ready with 8,500 place settings and champagne flutes and 25,500 pieces of china and wine glasses. To say significant work was executed to bring “Golden Grandeur” to life would be a severe understatement.
Placed on the tables were the exact plates to be served for the dinner. The menu designed by Patina Catering’s Alec Lestr (Executive Chef), Gregg Wiele (Executive Chef – Patina Restaurant Group), and Frania Mendivil (Executive Pastry Chef – Patina Restaurant Group) offered two courses and a dessert with a selection of sparkling wines by Ferrari Trento. While the press attending the preview had smaller portions of the dinner to be served, I was glad to be able to photograph the actual sizes that would be placed in front of Donald Glover, Jessica Lange, Aziz Ansari, Sterling K. Brown, Tracee Ellis Ross, Viola Davis, Kavin Spacey, and so many more.
Seeing each and every plate grace the table, my thought before sampling it all was how much was required for the event. It didn’t take long to find out that it took 27 executive restaurant chefs and 250 cooks to make it all happen. With the prep work executed at the Patina Central Catering kitchen over five days (at 50 people per day) and the actual plates carried out on site before service. Seeing the hands bring the food to life my next question was how much food was ordered. In the kitchen was 3,200lbs of filet Mignon, 4,250lbs of heirloom tomatoes, 1,800lbs of asparagus, 600lbs of red quinoa, 500lbs of Griotte cherries, 200lbs of Alunga milk chocolate, 110lbs Fleyr de Cao dark chocolate, and 3lbs of 24 karat gold leaf. Not to forget, there are more than 600 servers making sure each plate is delivered and each guest is attended to.
With that, I was both astounded by the sheer span of it all and more than ready to eat.
The first plate the guests would be given is the Last of the Heirlooms. A vegetarian’s delight, the dish was made of local heirloom tomatoes, red quinoa, dinosaur plum and drizzled with a charred leek vinaigrette with small squares of balsamic jelly, then topped with basil and sprinkled with sea salt. In the smaller serving I received I could honestly say that it was a delightful dish to have. The tomatoes tasted as if they were plucked from the farm just upon sunrise that day while the quinoa was cooked to a perfect close. The addition of the flavorful vinaigrette was a welcome silky texture to it all, but the burst of balsamic that released from the gelatin was one that surprised me.
Following the first course was the main: Pan Roasted Filet Mignon. On the second course plate was a beautiful presentation. If you were ever wondering what it looks like to eat at the Emmy’s or what celebrities eat at the Emmy’s, this plate is it! The roasted filet mignon was paired with asparagus, purple marble potatoes, roasted red flame grapes, mission figs, and a creamy horseradish puree with a whole grain mustard sauce. The obvious would be that the filet mignon was amazing. Seeing it resting quietly on the plate gave the allusion that it would be exceptional to taste and it was just that. The texture of the meat was tantalizing and soft while the flavor carelessly released in each bite. Add alongside the energetic figs and potatoes that required nothing else to them and the crunch from the asparagus and this was a dish that screamed “grandeur” from the first bite to the last.
To close out the Emmy Awards Governors Ball dinner was the dessert. An Alunga Brownie Bar of a dulce de leche, roasted cherries, cherry gel, and a 24 kart gold leaf was absolutely breath taking. Biting into a smaller version of the dessert the immediate reaction was that everything around me had to stop. The dessert was able to do that thanks to the extreme creaminess of the dulce de leche in the brownie that was heightened thanks to the rich and semi-sweet flavor of the cherry gel. It was dark, seductive, sticky, and most of all made me ask for seconds.
After sampling each of the plates that would be served at the Emmy Awards Governors Ball and getting to see what the interior would look like, I was extremely excited. Then to realize how much work, time, food, and energy was needed to make it all happen gave me a greater appreciation for the Emmy’s as a whole. I loved watching the show growing up and to have a chance to be in the same space where it would all take place this year was a great moment. Now if I could just get an Emmy award to take home myself for best Critical Analysis and Cynicism in Restaurant Blogging and Reviewing (sure that’s not a real category) I would be the happiest girl in the world.