Chef Elliott Grover is bringing a British flavour to the 95th Academy Awards – and diners at CUT, 45 Park Lane, have a chance to sample the stars’ Oscars menu
The 95th Academy Awards promises to be a star-studded spectacle this Sunday 12 March, with nominees including Michelle Yeoh, Steven Spielberg and Cate Blanchett. But while the celebrities have their focus pinned firmly on the golden statuettes, one man will have his eyes solely on the kitchen.
This year, British chef Elliott Grover who helms CUT at 45 Park Lane as executive chef, has the responsibility of catering for the most distinguished names in film. He will be cooking alongside Wolfgang Puck, who has overseen the Oscars menu for just short of 30 years.
‘The first time I met [Wolfgang] was at CUT in Beverly Hills. He was so welcoming and down-to-earth and his passion for food is incredible,’ Grover tells Spear’s.
The circumstance in which his Oscars glory came about however, was unusually informal.
‘There are a lot of chefs that have worked with Wolfgang and not had the chance to go. But I just asked him if I could go. And he said, absolutely come along.’
As it happens, the invite extended to a job.
‘First of all, he told me I can do one dish at the Oscars. But he said it’s got to be British. So I said, let’s do fish and chips. Then he kept adding things on.’
What’s on the Oscars menu?
The Academy Awards’ famous afterparty, also known as the Governors Ball, is where Grover will serve up a classically British menu.
VIP guests will start by tucking into a UK’s favourite; deep-fried haddock and beef-dripped chips. The classic takeaway dish is made a little more elegant for being served in a bamboo cone, with pea purée and tartar sauce.
For the main, it’s chicken pot pie, which consists of chicken breast with chicken velouté, English mustard and vegetables encased in puff pastry, all finished with truffle oil and shaved black truffle.
The dish has actually been on the Oscars menu for almost 15 years, but Grover has put his own unique spin on it for 2023.
‘We fill the mould up an inch before the top, tightly wrap puff pastry around it and it blooms up like a soufflé,’ Grover explains. ‘When you cut around it and open the lid, the fragrance of the truffle and the chicken comes out.’
Finally, for dessert, Grover is serving a classic British trifle; sponge, fruit jelly, custard and cream all enclosed in a petite glass jar and topped with a single maraschino cherry.
To cater for the sheer variety of diners, some of whom are very particular in their choices, Grover must be agile.
‘There’s a rumour that Wolfgang will take me into the main dining room and expect me to create some last minute dishes on a stall for the guests.’
‘It’s a lot of pressure but it’ll be alright.’
Although he’s an Oscars first-timer, Grover is fully aware of the magnitude and scale of the event.
‘You have to do at least 400 plates in half an hour. There’s a very tense moment when Wolfgang says ‘fire all the food’ and there’s about 90 chefs waiting to go. But within an hour it’s all done.’
From a London restaurant to the big night in Hollywood
But if he could choose between the busiest night at CUT or the Oscars? He doesn’t hesitate in his answer.
‘The busiest night in CUT London, for sure. It has a very special place in my heart, this is where it all started for me. The Oscars is a special event and I’m very privileged to go but you need to remember where the journey began and I appreciate the guests in London.’
Grover became executive chef of CUT at 45 Park Lane in April last year and has a wealth of experience under his belt, having started in the industry at the age of 16 at Le Caprice, which closed its doors in 2020.
‘I remember I watched a programme on TV when I was 14 and it was about the Queen. And one of the chefs that was cooking for the Queen worked at The Ivy. I thought, I want to do that. So I applied for The Ivy, which was also part of Caprice Holdings and they wrote back saying, we’ll give you a job.’
Grover has had a successful career working at London’s finest restaurants with a range of culinary experts. If there was one person that he could give an Oscar to in the food industry, who would it be?
‘Adam Handling. He was kind to me years and years ago and I’ve seen him grow so much and get a Michelin star at Frog. We’ve grown together really.’
And if there’s one person he’s hoping to meet at the Academy Awards? ‘Jack Nicholson, he’s just so cool.’
At 45 Park Lane, Londoners can feel the glamour of the Oscars menu
The Oscars dishes are all available at BAR 45 with the chicken pot pie also being served as a main dish downstairs at CUT at 45 Park Lane until 31st March.
A limited-edition ‘Golden Nights’ Oscars cocktail, which is a twist on an Old Cuban and finished with 24-carat edible gold leaf, will also be available in BAR 45.
Order your copy of The Spear’s 500 2023 here.