The Event is a docu-series on HBO Max that covers the inner workings of the WPC (Wolfgang Puck Catering) business. I found it to be extremely interesting and well produced.
The series is only 4 half-hour episodes and in each one, they cover a different event. The first (SAG Awards) and third (Westworld Season 3 Premiere) were the two I enjoyed the most because they were more focused on the Hollywood scene than the others.
Each episode is packed with information about the incredible amount of planning, coordination, and pressure each one of these events contains on the various departments of the WPC staff. Not only do you have the chefs and wait staff as part of the process but event coordination and even art direction and construction for the venue are part of the process.
Presentation of the food is arguably more important than what the food tastes like and the chefs could spend hours figuring out the best way to present the food on the plate. I think it is refreshing to see people actually take pride in their work and strive to put out the best product they can.
What I like most about the show is the day of the event. These people start work at about 3 AM and not finish until close to midnight. They typically have to make enough food to feed close to 1,000 people, they have to transport it to the venue, make sure everything is decorated just right and if is not fix it.
I mentioned construction earlier and that was probably the best part of the show. In the venue that SAG is held in, the Shrine Auditorium, it is basically just an empty warehouse between events. It’s up to WPC to construct the stage, bring in the tables, sets up the lighting, brig in the decorations. Everything.
For the Westworld event, WPC recreated the exact set from the episode that was shown so people would feel immersed in the world of the show they just watched. It is pretty incredible to watch this unfold.
Not to leave out the wait staff, they do an incredible job as well. During the SAG, they only have two minutes during commercial breaks to bus tables, refill glasses and bring out entrees to around 800 people. It’s remarkable because they have to do this and be done before the cameras roll again as they can’t ever appear on the show.
Occasionally something goes wrong at these events. For example, in the episode that takes place at the Rose Bowl, they realized just before the start of the event that they left all of the lobsters at WPC HQ. Somebody had to drive all the way back to Hollywood from Pasadena to pick it up and bring it back.
As for Wolfgang Puck, he shows up about 30 minutes before the event and that’s the only time you see him. He tastes a few things and then asks a couple of questions and that’s about the extent of his role in the operation of the business that bears his name.
If you are interested in behind the scenes Hollywood stuff or if you are interested in high-pressure management and operational planning and coordination I highly recommend The Event.