Hollywood is not known for its displays of modesty, and the world certainly does not look to film stars for lessons in financial restraint. But the opulent, gold-garnished menu concocted for guests at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in Beverly Hills today (NZT) has already prompted some observers to choke.

Joel Berg, of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, spoke at the weekend of the irony of giving rich people such extravagant food for free while those in need have to jump through hoops to get help, adding: "I resent that a wealthy society allows its neighbours to face hunger."

Against a backdrop of intensifying food poverty across America, the wisdom is doubtful of serving such principled acting nominees as George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Michael Fassbender a dessert that is literally as difficult to acquire as gold dust.

The controversial pudding, decorated with real gold, concludes a luxury feast designed to reflect global food influences and is described as "a chocolate delice, almond crunch terrine, garnished with acacia honey, caramel and fresh berries" and sprinkled with edible gold flakes at US$135 ($170) a gram. The dish was devised over six months by pastry chef Thomas Henzi at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and is being prepared there by 40 chefs and 110 kitchen staff.


"There is gold dust on there for the Golden Globes," Henzi has explained, adding it will pair ideally with the Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 magnums created for the night. The meal will be served to 1300 guests, including awards presenters Nicole Kidman and Natalie Portman, before the stars and their producers go on to attend more than half a dozen rival "after parties".

It is unlikely that the more ethically versed stars who attended a brunch held on Saturday by Green Carpet Challenge, the environmental group supported by Colin Firth and his wife Livia, will approve of such untrammelled excess.

Food poverty campaigner Berg said that, while he did not mind wealthy people eating well and enjoys good food himself, in the context of nearly 50 million Americans living in households that are "food insecure", in that they "either directly face hunger or are somehow rationing food needs", he sees an uncomfortable contrast.

"I don't want to bring the rich down, I want to bring everyone else up.

"However, this is an irony that the people who need it least often get free food wherever they go, but we still make it extraordinarily difficult for people to obtain government food benefits."

The rich menu may well also draw the fire of the Globes' contentious British host, Ricky Gervais, who returns to the compere's role at the annual event after shocking guests last year with the ferocity of his jibes.

Robert Downey jnr, Johnny Depp and Tim Allen all felt the sting of an insult in 2011. Gervais has promised a similar diet of bile to go along with the awards supper this year. "They can expect the same as last year with different - I nearly said targets - different subjects and different jokes," he has told the BBC.

Bets place the recently separated couple Russell Brand and Katy Perry at the top of his list of potential "targets".


What do you think of the dessert?