From the outside, awards ceremonies can seem all about the surface. Given how distracted everyone is by the glitz, glamour and impractical gowns, it can be easy to forget that there’s a whole hive of activity buzzing behind the scenes, taking care of everything from admission to alcohol. Brad Pitt’s smile doesn’t happen by accident. You have to work for it.
As anyone who’s ever hosted a party knows, the key to keeping guests happy is through their stomachs. It’s hard to dazzle if you’re running on warm prosecco and stale crisps. Small wonder, then, that crafting the menu for the biggest nights in the movie industry can cause a serious headache - even for seasoned pros.
This year, we went behind the curtain at BAFTA, to see exactly what the rich and famous will be scoffing at British film’s signature shindig. Needless to say, it was slightly more impressive than an Iceland-bought beige buffet.
The theme behind this year’s dinner is all about sustainability. Extra emphasis has been placed on keeping produce local and seasonal, resulting in a menu that’s as fresh and bouyant as Timothée Chalamet’s haircut.
This approach was exemplified by the starter, which featured carraway-infused carrot salad, celeriac and kelp-pickled turnip, all served alongside a homemade mushroom piccalilli and washed down with a tall glass of Taittinger champagne. Light and refreshing, it was as welcome as Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” update. Applause all round.
According to a card accompanying the meal, as part of a push to make this year’s Awards carbon-neutral:
“(t)he food served will be sustainably sourced, comprising of a vegan starter and dessert, with a sustainably sourced chicken main (where the entirety of the chicken will be used), and a vegan main course choice. There will be zero food waste and all cooking oil will be recycled and turned into biofuel for transport.”
Feeling hungry and virtuous, we ploughed on.
After our posh carrots, came carefully sculpted plates of Shropshire chicken breast, walnut ballotine and creamed parsnips. Carefully toeing the line between British roast dinner and delicate, celeb-worthy dining, it was filling without being overindulgent. No one wants to be bursting out of a ballgown before taking to the stage.
Avoiding uncomfortably full stomachs must have been on chef’s mind, as dessert returned to the fresh theme of the starter. Strange spheres of pear, raspberry and rhubarb were dotted onto a plate, like the cellular structure of an undiscovered alien fungus. Meringue iced gems were squirted here and there, giving the whole plate a Candyland cool.
Clearly, come Sunday night, the world will care a whole lot more about who pipped Sam Mendes to “Best Director”, or why “Joker” won anything at all than about what Joaquin had for dinner. However, having said that, it’s worth remembering that there’s more to Award’s ceremonies than acceptance speeches. So, on behalf of some happy Twisted tummies, we’d like to thank the Academy.