John Mayernaise and Celine Dijon: Creating Food for Grammys No Easy Task
As Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall once said, upon arriving in Los Angeles, "What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler." This city does love to give out awards, and when we do, there are always a lot of mouths to feed. It's a massive endeavor, and this Sunday's Grammy Awards at Staples Center are no different. Levy Restaurants Area chef Gilbert Verdugo and Staples Center executive chef Pilar Sanchez are in charge of putting food just about everywhere for the event.
N. Galuten Edibles in the Grammy luxury suites
"We're going to be preparing food for all the luxury suites, presenters, hosts, performers and award winners," said Verdugo. There will be food backstage, in dressing rooms, for pre-party and post (including a taco truck themed station serving both Mexican and Korean tacos). "We're serving probably close to 5,000 people," he added, "though that could be conservative." This will require a couple hundred chefs, with about 1,000 people total just to run the culinary end, from cooking down to serving and clean up. They'll work long hours in preparation, most likely through the night on Saturday.
This year, the event is working almost exclusively with local vendors, trying for sustainable foods with healthier, cleaner flavors. "It's California cuisine at its best," said Sanchez. "Shrimp grilled with tomatillo salsa is so Los Angeles." But that doesn't mean they don't get a lot special requests from their VIP guests. "One year," Verdugo said, "Celine Dion was feeling sick and asked us to make her chicken soup." Well, at least if there's a green M&M shortage in Los Angeles this weekend, we'll know the reason.
The Grammy Awards will air on January 31st at 8 p.m. on CBS.