“You would think it would get easier. But the butterflies are still there.”
That’s not one of the performers from the forthcoming 58th Grammy Awards talking, but it is definitely a star performer from another arena who will be playing an equally major role this weekend: Staples Center executive chef Joseph Martin.
Between chats with Billboard and other media Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 9), Martin presided over an exclusive luncheon preview of what artists, musicians, presenters and guests will be noshing on and imbibing during Music’s Biggest Night. Holding court inside an aroma-filled Staples Center VIP suite, Martin and his team treated the intimate gathering to a mouthwatering menu.
Among the gastronomic stars billed under “The Turntable” section: “Uptown Funk” Peking duck spring rolls (pictured above), Thai spiced shrimp, smoked oyster mushroom salad, prime tenderloin and grilled chicken yakitori. “The Sinatra,” a nod to the Chairman of the Board’s 100th anniversary, features the “Come Fly With Me” seafood bar (jumbo shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, crab fingers served with Champagne mignonette), lobster “My Way” salad, “New York, New York” strip steak and the room’s hands-down favorite today Mary’s Farm “Love Me Tender” chicken with fried truffle mac and cheese and bourbon glaze.
Sweet tooths can choose between “One for My Baby” (and one more for the road) desserts, which include gingerbread sandwich cookies, or “Childhood Memories” desserts, which include an apple pop pie. And besides serving 1,200 bottles of wine and other attendee requests, Staples Center is offering two special signature drinks: a barrel-aged Avion 44 old-fashioned and Framboise Celeste, a fusion involving Absolute Elyx vodka and Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque champagne.
For the Grammy trivia fans out there, here are some more numbers to crunch: All told, the Staples Center will serve 6,900 pieces of sushi, 1,200 oysters, 1,105 pounds of chicken, 990 pounds of tenderloin, 640 pounds of U-10 shrimp, 1,800 pieces of dessert and 350 pounds of ahi tuna.
Marking his fifth year as executive chef for the Grammys and 12th with Levy Restaurants — whose events portfolio includes the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby — Martin tells Billboard that planning for this year’s Grammys menu began the day after last year’s show. Asked about any potential last-minute changes, he says with a laugh, “We’re good to go. No audibles are going to be called.”