September 13, 2018 at 11:30 am PST | by Susan Hornik
Emmys’ rainbow sparkles for a close-up

Gary Levitt, VP of Sequoia Productions, oversees seamless hospitality for VIPs at the 70th Emmys Governors Ball. (Photo by Susan Hornik)

The Governors Ball at the Emmys is already one of the finest and most extensive parties on the Hollywood red carpet calendar, but this year celebrates the event’s 70th annual awards, so some extra special attention is being paid to this year’s celebration.

Los Angeles Blade estimated that nearly $20,000,000 has been spent on advertising alone just on the race to become a nominee and tens of millions more to win. The event itself better be over the top!

We just had a take a sneak peak through the eyes of some of the most talented event crafters in the business.

Meet the Emmy makers.

For the past 21 years, Sequoia Productions has created glamorous décor for the Governors Ball. “We really wanted to shake it up this time,” enthused Cheryl Cecchetto, founder and president. “It’s not a sit-down dinner, there will be a lot of mingling and socializing. We encourage everyone to walk around and have a great time.”

There will be lots of blues, purples and gold at the Ball, which adds to the “charm and sparkle” of the event, noted Cecchetto. Thousands of LED lights contribute to the Emmys’ “Under the Stars” design element.

Patina Catering is returning as the official caterer of the Television Academy’s exclusive Emmy celebration.

Chef and Patina Restaurant Group Founder Joachim Splichal, Vice President of Culinary Gregg Wiele, Patina Catering Executive, Chef Alec Lestr, and Patina Catering Executive Pastry Chef, Frania Mendivil have created a menu of more than 35 different fine-dining small plates that are inspired by Michelin-starred restaurant Patina and the Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse, along with a lavish assortment of intriguing dishes and desserts.

Menu highlights include potatoes with shaved summer truffles; brown butter gnocchi, flat iron steak with red wine bordelaise; mini Gruyere popovers; Nashville hot fried chicken sliders with dill pickle and purple cabbage slaw; Angus beef sliders with aged cheddar, caramelized onions, and tomato aioli; Filipino BBQ chicken skewers with scallion salad and banana ketchup; grilled cheese with heirloom tomato soup; and olive oil poached salmon with lime soya onions, puffed wild rice, and soft herbs.

There are lots more vegetable dishes on the menu too.

“Our veggie and vegan dishes are more in demand each year! If you are gluten free or pescatarian, it’s all there for you too,” said Cecchetto.

New items being offered are the cashew ceviche that is lime-marinated, hearts of palm, cucumber, leche de tigre, avocado mousse, and crispy blue corn; sweet corn agnolotti with lime brown butter and toasted hazelnuts; truffle French fries, and a farmer’s market edible garden of five salads, which spotlight locally sourced best-of-the-season produce, such as Valdivia Farms heirloom tomatoes.

“Everyone on the Patina team is unbelievably creative and the kindest, most generous team to work with,” Cecchetto says.

If you are looking to throw your own Emmys Awards viewing party, Cecchetto advises to let people relax and enjoy it when they first come in.

“An event is like a set of stairs, you have to take it one stair at a time.  Make sure they feel comfortable,” says Cecchetto.

Cecchetto’s gay business partner is Gary Levitt, who is Executive VP, working on the advance coordination, marketing and contracting of the event. 

“I am onsite for the Emmy Governor Balls (for Creative Arts & Primetime) to support the Sequoia Team. I oversee the smooth flow of arrivals into the Governors Ball as well as the VIP food and beverage service, the Television Academy executives and their guests,” Levitt says.

Levitt is thrilled to see the LGBTQ community being recognized for their abilities. “I love that the entertainment industry is more accepting of us. The nominees are being acknowledged for their skill set. People look up to them, they are role models. This shows people that they can achieve anything they want. And that’s really important,” Levitt says.

Gay florist Kevin Lee, president of La Premier Events, has created a beautiful floral display in the indoor/outdoor space at the Microsoft Theatre. “You have to install fresh flowers in less than 12 hours and make them look so fresh and perfect. It’s a bit of a challenge but I make it work,” Lee says.

For lucky attendees, Sterling Vineyards will be pouring the soon-to-launch Platinum Cabernet Sauvignon, which is debuting at the Governors Ball, as well as the flagship Sterling Vineyards Iridium Cabernet Sauvignon, an ultra-limited wine Emmy winners will receive as a personalized gift in the Emmy Winner’s Circle.

The 2018 Governors Ball Food & Beverage Shoot on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at Patina in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

In total, over 2,000 bottles of Sterling Vineyards wines will be uncorked at this year’s Governor’s Ball. That’s 12,000 glasses of wine or the equivalent of 396 gallons of wine.

Fun fact: Bottles placed end to end run the length of nearly three Emmys red carpets, extending over 1,900 feet.

As Ketel One Family Made Vodka is the official spirits partner of the awards, television’s biggest stars are raising a glass to celebrate with curated cocktails by award-winning bartender Charles Joly and Liq Pro’s president, Andy Seymour.

If you want to make your own Emmy cocktail as you watch the show, Seymour had great advice.

“The fun thing about making cocktails is that you can make it as easy or hard as you would like. It’s like cooking. Understanding some basics is always a good idea,” Seymour says.

If you have a group of people and don’t want to stand all night behind the bar, making individual drinks all night, Seymour recommends a punch drink, which is “fun and light.”

“Then people can serve themselves and you can all watch the awards together,” he quipped.

Hosts can try this recipe for Enlightenment, one of the official drinks at the Emmys.

1 ½ oz Ketel One Family-Made Vodka
infused with strawberries
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz honey syrup
1 oz Sencha green tea
1/16 oz Chareau liqueur
Carbonated Yuzu and Strawberry pearl

Combine the first five ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake and strain liquid into carbonating vessel and charge with CO2. Pour into a chilled glass over yuzu and strawberry pearls. Tie flowering lavender to the outside of the glass to finish.

And the winner is….

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