INTERVIEW: Celebrity Chef Wayne Elias Talks Oscars, Sir Elton John, and More
For the past 15 years, chef to the stars and founder of Crumble Catering Wayne Elias has been the go-to chef for numerous star-studded events and celebrations. Last year, Chef Wayne and his team of staffers catered the Venom Movie Premier , the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) Academy Awards Viewing Party, and the 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards.
And the chef’s schedule for this year is already in high gear. Just two weeks ago, Chef Wayne and Crumble Catering created a three course meal for hundreds of guests at the Steven Tyler Grammy Awards 2019 Viewing Party benefiting Janie’s Fund, an organization founded by the Aerosmith frontman that aims to help girls who are victims of abuse and neglect. The massive fundraising event garnered over $2.8 million dollars.
This Sunday on the 24th, Chef Wayne and his team will once again provide catering for the EJAF Oscars Viewing Party. This will be the 15th year that Chef Wayne and Crumble Catering have been tapped as the official caterers of the prestigious event. The talented team (150 servers and bartenders as well as 70 kitchen staff) will execute 1,000 meals in just three hours. Hollywood’s biggest A-listers will be served on site at West Hollywood Park while huge digital screens will display the live Oscars telecast.
Nerds and Beyond had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Chef Wayne about his passion, his inspirations, and what it’s like to work for the stars.
Nerds and Beyond: Working with Sir Elton John: are you a fan of his music? If so, do you have any favorite songs?
Chef Wayne Elias: I am a big fan and went to the Yellow Brick Road Tour in 1974 and then the Yellow Brick Road Farewell Tour in 2019. “Bennie and The Jets,” “Your Song,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Can you Feel The Love” are some favorites.
Nerds and Beyond: Does Sir Elton have any certain dishes/staples that are a “must have” or a favorite?
Chef Wayne: He does love dark and milk chocolate that we keep in his dressing room, and he does tend to order the meat entree on the menu. He loves rice pudding as well, which we have in his dressing room.
Nerds and Beyond: Were you at all intimidated with planning an event of this nature (EJAF Viewing Party) and because of who it was for?
Chef Wayne: It is an honor and I am happy to be part of the EJAF Oscar Party to help people around the world. I am not intimidated but I am nervous excited!
Nerds and Beyond: For ingredients, where do you primarily source them from? Do you try to stay with local stores/farms or do you import items/more exotic items?
Chef Wayne: We buy from local California produce farms. It is winter now, so some items have to be brought in from Chile and other warmer regions.
Nerds and Beyond: What is your process for planning a menu? Do you go with a certain theme?
Chef Wayne: I imagine that I am going to the event as a guest, and I think of what I might want to dine on. Also, with guests all dressed up in their finest, I do not want anyone to be intimidated, and we make sure nothing is too messy, dripping, or too large that nobody would taste the food.
Nerds and Beyond: What dish are you most excited about serving this year?
Chef Wayne: The beetroot appetizer with a black Olive tuile and Boursin cheese.
Nerds and Beyond: Besides regular prep, do you do anything to get ready for planning and preparing for an event this size?
Chef Wayne: Work out, massage, meditate, cry, laugh, look up at the sky.
Thank you, Chef Wayne, for talking with us about your wonderful work! We know you will once again exceed all expectations this Sunday at the EJAF Oscars Viewing Party, and we can’t wait to see what you have planned next!