Sven Garrett, Celebrity chef, Discusses Current Food Trends In Hollywood
What are Hollywood celebrities eating these days and why?
There is no way of categorizing how celebrities eat. The lead singer of a rock band probably eats differently than a Victoria Secret model. Celebrities can be quick to jump on certain bandwagons such as gluten-free, organic, raw and vegan. You can find celebrities at an organic brunch place, a local sports bar enjoying a beer and grass-fed burger and high-end sushi places. Currently kale, quinoa and farro salads are on many trendy menus.
Is raw food still trending?
There are still people out there who eat only raw, but it requires dedication to a way of eating. A lot of people like to have raw items in their diet such as uncooked grains, fresh salads and unpasteurized juices. Juicing, which is basically creating a meal from raw vegetables and fruits, is extremely popular currently. However, maintaining a 100% raw diet is extremely difficult for an extended period of time.
Is gluten-free as important as it’s trending or is it over-rated?
I remember 20 years ago nobody had ever heard of the term “gluten-free” and everyone lived fine. Now everyone is doing it. Our food quality has definitely changed in the past 20 years. It used to have more vitamins and nutrition, less added sugars and fat, and it wasn’t comprised of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Now our bodies seem to be reacting to these more processed foods, and the results appear to be the rise of allergies to things such as gluten, lactose and nuts.
There is definitely a gluten-free trend here in Los Angeles and people try to be part of an “in crowd”. Somewhere, one or two people said how much better they felt by eliminating gluten and then others fell in line. Now, there are legions of people who believe they can no longer have any gluten or lactose or sugar.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely people who have conditions such as Celiac disease or gluten allergies who can’t have gluten or people who are lactose intolerant who can’t have dairy. But the claims of such things does feel a little overblown to me.
Are celebrities opting for more of a vegetarian diet or carnivore diet?
While there are a lot of vegetarians and vegans in Hollywood, many celebrities recognize the need for meat proteins. They are “listening” to their bodies. But they are bypassing red meat for things like free-range chicken and sustainable seafood. Red meat is usually consumed when it is a small piece of grade-A steak (preferably grass-fed). Otherwise things like a summer salad with poached salmon or grilled chicken is part of many celebrities’ diets.
When you do a large Hollywood event, what does the client want you to prepare for dinner? Can you be creative or does the host prefer to dictate the menu?
For larger events in Hollywood, I’m usually dealing with event planners. These planners could be a private event company, celebrity’s assistants or director of events for a studio like Warner Bros. Most of the time, their event needs to fit a certain theme or purpose. They usually will have a set menu in mind based on things like if it is a movie premiere, release of a music album or third wedding to a Playboy playmate. I’ll listen to what these planners want and then give them suggestions on how to maximize the culinary success of their event. We are always able to meet somewhere in the middle. Then it usually goes through multiple food tasting sessions before a final menu is determined. It is a little more complicated than let’s say a barbecue in Texas, but I guess that’s what makes it Hollywood.