Eat, Pray, Love Celebrates India, Italy at After-Party

By Courtney Thompson August 17, 2010, 12:57 PM EDT

Photo: Line 8 Photography

Eat, Pray, Love Premiere
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After spending two hours and 13 minutes watching Julia Roberts navigate her way through the bistros of Italy, the ashrams of India, and the beaches of Bali, the 800 guests at the Eat Pray Love premiere at the Ziegfeld last Tuesday were ready to follow author Elizabeth Gilbert's lead and mangia. Studio Columbia Pictures sprang for buses to usher the crowds six blocks north to the Metropolitan Club, where event producer Chris Benarroch relied on lighting from Bentley Meeker, some 500 candles, and ample floral arrangements from Ron Wendt to channel scenes from the film and give “the feel of dining alfresco at night,” Benarroch said.

Appropriately, eating was the focus. A sprawling raw bar chock full of jumbo shrimp, crab claws, oysters, and little neck clams anchored the venue's Great Hall, which was the India-inspired room, with jewel-toned linens and potted palms. The adjacent room, the West Lounge, was where the talent congregated, with the film's top stars and producers each helming a solid oak communal table topped with tight Italian-inspired centerpieces of potted herbs and garden roses, bowls of figs and olives, and meat and cheese plates. In addition to pasta and carving stations, long buffet tables offered everything from sauteed mushrooms and bruschetta to ricotta cheesecake and mini cannoli.

“The goal was to create an environment that evokes the feeling of the filma celebration of the food and beauty of the culturein a sophisticated way,” Benarroch said.

Some of the film's stars (Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup) lingered until the evening wrapped around midnight.

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