Emmy Governors Ball Hangs Starry Decor Over TV Stars, Adds Dessert Sponsor

By Alesandra Dubin August 30, 2010, 12:36 PM EDT

Photo: Nadine Froger Photography

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hosted its splashy annual Governors Ball on Sunday after the Primetime Emmy awards telecast. The event's celestial look borrowed from the night sky, with starry decor transforming the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center for about 3,600 guests; the event is billed as the largest formal dinner in the United States, requiring 1,200 staff on site to make it happen. For the 13th consecutive year, Sequoia Productions, headed by Cheryl Cecchetto, produced the ball. Dwight Jackson, Russ Patrick, and Joe Stewart were its chairs.

A 60-foot-wide elevated dance floor was the focal point of the 124,000-square-foot party space, and a six-foot-diameter mirror ball sparkled above the center of the platform. About 3,000 smaller mirror balls hung from the ceiling creating the look of vast open skies. (The starry look was a contrast against last year's bold, Xanadu-inspired jewel tones.)

Patina Restaurant Group, headed up by chef Joachim Splichal, returned to cater the event, with an emphasis on farmers' market-fresh ingredients. The first course was a summer vegetable salad with avocado mousse, salsa verde, heirloom tomato, and water gelée. The main course was rack of lamb with dried fruit crumble, chickpea puree, and basil-marinated grilled eggplant with summer vegetables and rosemary juice. Dessert, created by Patina executive pastry chef Philippe Muze, was known as “Dark Chocolate Decadence,” with smoked fleur de sel on sponsor Duncan Hines's chewy fudge brownie. As the event's official dessert sponsor, Duncan Hines also provided keepsake brownie boxes on guests' seats. In all, there were 180 cooks in the kitchen, and 13 executive restaurant chefs on site. The basic prep takes place at the Patina central catering kitchen over a five-day period by a crew of 50 per day.

For the fifth year, Grey Goose was the official spirits sponsor, and mixed its signature drink, the Emmy (Grey Goose L'Orange, peach brandy, fresh lime, peach bitters, simple syrup, and a peach slice). Napa Valley winery Beaulieu Vineyard, the official wine sponsor for the seventh year, paired its Carneros Chardonnay, Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and Muscat de Beaulieu with the meal's three courses. It took 45 bartenders to staff the event, which had two Grey Goose ice bars and a Beaulieu Vineyard wine bar in the center of the ballroom.

For additional eye candy, LA Premier Floral Event Design contributed to the look with 5,000 white calla lilies, 20,000 white roses, and 50,000 carnations. And for the aural stimulation, 30 performers entertained the crowd, including the John Proulx Quartet, Impulse Orchestra with featured vocalist Barbara Morrison, and a special performance by the Valli Boys.

As is typical for the event, organizers put a focus on eco-friendliness with initiatives like energy-efficient lighting from Images by Lighting, repurposed and recycled design elements, solar energy panels at the convention center, and a comprehensive recycling program. Surplus foods went to Midnight Mission.

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