Behind the Scenes at Elton John's Oscar Party
BY Trudy Ring
February 24 2012 4:10 PM ET
All over the nation, people are getting ready for Oscar-night parties. But not everyone is expecting 900 guests, like gay Los Angeles chef and caterer Wayne Elias.
Elias is in his eighth year of catering the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards Viewing Party, one of the most stellar events of the season and one that raises much-needed funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, plus efforts to fight stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.
For Elias, executive chef of Crumble Catering and the restaurants Vermont and Rockwell Vt. (all co-owned with Chris Diamond), the gig is an opportunity to work for a cause that’s extremely important to him. “I have lost friends and lovers to the disease and have been passionate about the cause for 25 years,” he says.
Sir Elton has become one of the cause’s major benefactors. His U.S. foundation, established in 1992, and its U.K. counterpart, set up in 1993, have raised more than $225 million for projects in 55 countries to date. The Oscar party, a major source of those funds, draws a crowd that includes many top celebrities to enjoy fabulous food in a sumptuous setting.