Television, like food, is becoming more and more artisan with each passing year. No longer are we sitting down to classic family meals before gathering round the living room TV for the favored Thursday night lineup. These days we test out the latest recipes trending off Pinterest, and retire to our respective laptops to stream Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones in bulk.
It only makes sense then that TV’s biggest annual awards show, the Primetime Emmy Awards, and the corresponding parties the Creative Arts Ball and the gossip-ripe Governors Ball parties have followed suit. So much so that they now have now have their very own "sneak-peek" preview events, such as the one held in the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles.
There, select members of the press along with a cavalcade of camera crews worthy of a red carpet, pack themselves inside the intimate, lounge-like venue to get a glimpse of what’s in store for the stars and creators of their favorite shows during the 65th Emmy Awards celebrations. Décor, cuisine, ambiance, and even table settings are all laid out in miniature. The detail involved in these preparations gives but a hint of what massive productions the actual Creative Arts Ball and Governors Ball must be, both taking place in the football-sized West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, serving almost 7,000 guests between them.
The first real eye-catchers of the presentation by design are the floral arrangements by LA Premier. The theme of this year’s events is "Enchanted Forest," and as if straight out of Avatar’s Pandora, the dramatic tableaus of silver manzanita branches, calla lilies, roses, and orchids seem magical indeed. This is just the tip of trailhead: the big events will feature three 40-foot trees with canopies of futuristic foliage extending out over 20,000 square feet. The inspiration supposedly came from an art installation by British designer Tom Price in which he created a grove of cherry trees out of plastic tubes.
The forestry in no way overshadows the food. Patina Catering of the much-lauded Patina Restaurant Group (providing the Emmy’s with their delectable nourishments for the past 18 years), presented a visually stunning three-course-meal that offered both intricacy and unique sustenance. The first course is a "Little Gem Lettuce Salad," which is a kind of deconstruction of a traditional Italian salad with a delicious, crispy basil chip on the side. Following that, Patina’s chef and co-founder Joachim Splichal (alongside his executive chefs Gregg Wiele and Alec Lester) offered a hefty serving of beef filet mignon, marinated in red wine, and plated with a cipollini onion and potato-pear gratin. For dessert, pastry chef Carlos Enriquez whisks up a "Caramelia Namelaka" (a caramelized chocolate pudding), as directly influenced by the Enchanted Forest theme.
Rounding out the events’ festivities are a trio of enticing alcoholic options: Beaulieu Vineyard’s Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon , a Grey Goose "Emmy" cocktail, and to go along with the somewhat verdant color palette, a cool bottle of Heineken. Where the evenings go from there, no one but possibly Bryan Cranston can really say. The lasting impact of these celebrations, though, is much more concrete, and Governors Ball committee chair emeritus Joe Stewart sums it up best: "To promote the modernity and contemporary nature the Television Academy wants to have."