Cooking for picky Hollywood guests? Not a problem for Gianbattista Vinzoni, one of the chefs behind the latest Golden Globe gala dinner.

Time to start watching the Awards season: Golden Globes, Oscar, Sag Awards… and also to catch up on what they (actors) eat at those ceremonies. Wouldn’t you wanna know? I do and just for that reason, I reached out to Gianbattista GIANBA Vinzoni, an Italian chef who works at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Does this name ring a bell? That’s the hotel that, for the 42nd consecutive year, hosted the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday.

Unlike the Oscars award ceremony, the Golden Globe night actually includes dinner. So, under the direction of Executive Chef Alberico Nunziata (also Italian, by the way), Chef Vinzoni and his team cooked for thousands of Hollywood celebrities, guests, and media people. If you are wondering what your favorite stars ate last Sunday night, here’s the three-course menu.

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Gianbattista Vinzoni is a friend of mine. He comes from the famous Cinque Terre, in the region of Liguria. He is a father of two beautiful children, Chiara (12) and Antonio (9). Besides being a chef, he’s a great wine connoisseur (he can also drink u under the table at any given moment, but that is another story). We worked together years ago when I was the maitre’d at Via Veneto restaurant (lotsa stories to be told) and we got to know each other very well. I I love him, I trust him, I would eat anything he puts in front of me. Given our friendship, I asked him a few questions about his crazy job during these awards times…

Gianbattista Vinzoni of Beverly Hilton

Executive Chef Alberico Nunziata (left) and Chef Gianbattista Vinzoni at work

1) When they tell you that you have to cook for like 17000 people, what do you do?

Well…..the first reaction is WOW! I don’t know precisely how many people we will cook for, but they are A LOT! What do you do: you just start to analyze how many buffet, how many “sit down dinner”, how many tray pass, how many breakfast lunch and dinner, how many to go boxes, how many staff and team members…
The Executive Chef decides who is doing what, meaning which chef to assign to every single event within the main event. From there, you come up with a menu, you do tastings, and you finalize a menu with the items that the client picks. You start checking how many people your “party” is going to be, and you make a plan of action that includes: staff needed, orders, preparations lists, quantities to be prepared day after day… Finally, you execute the party, then clean up and reset for normal service the day after. So basically it’s a LOT OF FUN! Ahahahh

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Fennel Salad by Gianbattista Vinzoni

(Photo: Gianbattista Vinzoni)

2) Guide us through the process. When and how does your “cooking mind” kick in?

Immediately after you are assigned to a certain event. You just start floating around your “chef’s sixth sense” and come up with ideas….

3) And once you decide, how many shrimps? How many ribs etc?

Ahahahah!!!!! How many…..I forgot already! Hopefully ENOUGH! Just joking. The ordering process is difficult because it is a guessing game. You try to do your best in guessing based on what you serve, on potential allergies and diet restrictions.

4) The biggest problems you may encounter when preparing such a meal?

I guess the ordering and delivery process. You need to be very precise in communicating and submitting orders in order to have everything you need in the house. Otherwise, it is difficult to get things done.

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Beet Salad prepared by Gianbattista Vinzoni

(Photo: Gianbattista Vinzoni)

5) What are the most important qualities for a successful chef?

Effectiveness, precision, and professionalism.

6) How do you prepare a menu?

First you listen to the client’s ideas and vision, then you unleash your creativity, craziness, and passion for food. You cook, you taste, you pick what you like, and there you go, you got a menu! Ahahaha, so easy!

7) What movies did you see last year? What’s your favorite food-related movie?

I have two kids, so I spend most of my free time with them. That’s why last year I saw “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Pete’s Dragon,” and “Angry Birds”. As for food-related movies, I like “Chef” and “The Big Night,” a little old but always good. And “Ratatouille,” again because of my kids—they think it is my story from when I was a kid!


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