What’s for Dinner at the Met Gala? A Look at the 2021 Menu and Table Decor

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For this year’s Met Gala, acclaimed culinary maestro and Bon Appetit advisor Marcus Samuelsson gave 10 New York chefs—Fariyal Abdullahi, Nasim Alikhani, Emma Bengtsson, Lazarus Lynch, Junghyun Park, Erik Ramirez, Thomas Raquel, Sophia Roe, Simone Tong, and Fabian von Hauske—a challenge: craft a sustainable, plant-based menu that fits the theme of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.”

“After a difficult two years for the restaurant industry, this will showcase the work and tell the stories of a dynamic group of chefs while presenting an exciting menu of delicious, plant-based dishes. The gala offers an incomparable opportunity for emerging talent to elevate their careers and share their perspectives and craft,” Samuelsson said.

They rose to the occasion. Tonight, guests from Lil Nas X to Lorde enjoyed passed canapés like Lynch’s collard greens hot chow served on coconut buttermilk cornbread, Roe’s black rice porcini arancini with pumpkin Calabrian chili sauce, and Tong’s watermelon tart with smoked yuzu soy on a panipuri cracker.

During the seated dinner in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur, Samuelsson and Abdullahi came up with a refreshing salad with farm-to-table ingredients for a first course. The main dish was Bengtsson and Park’s creamy barley with corn, pickled turnips, and roasted maitake, followed by Raquel’s “Apple”: apple mousse and apple confit with a calvados glaze—served in the shape of its namesake fruit.

Keke Palmer posts photo of sad Met Gala meal: ‘The menu chile’

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Sorry to these chefs.

Keke Palmer was less than impressed with her meal at the Met Gala on Monday night.

The first-timer, who hosted Vogue’s livestream on the red carpet earlier in the night, posted a photo on her Instagram Story of the catering and captioned it, “This is why they don’t show y’all the food 🤪 I’m just playinnnn 👀 .”

The picture showcased a small portion of vegetables, including corn, tomatoes, mushroom, cucumbers and some grains.

Palmer’s Instagram Story of the catered food at the Met Gala. She captioned it on Twitter, “The menu chile.” Instagram

Palmer, 28, posted the image again on Twitter with the caption, “The menu chile.”

The picture drew comparisons to the infamous cheese sandwich handed out at the disgraced Fyre Festival in 2017.

“They feeding y’all like it’s Fyre Festival 🥴,” one person tweeted, receiving more than 1,500 “likes.”

Another replied, “Didn’t the Fyre Festival at least have a cheese sandwich 😭”

A third remarked, “Not me thinking the plate was a tortilla.”

A photo of the Fyre Festival’s viral sandwich. Twitter

A fourth user pointed out that perhaps Tiffany Haddish was “onto something” when she brought fried chicken in a ziplock bag to the Met Gala red carpet in 2019.

“Last year, I was so hungry,” Haddish, 41, told W Magazine at the time. “This year, I got me a bigger bag. Gonna put some fried chicken in it. Don’t tell nobody till tomorrow. I’ve already called a few people that I know are going like, ‘So, I’m going to bring the chicken. You bring the hot sauce, okay?’”

Perhaps one of the reasons Palmer’s photo is so shocking is because of the hefty price tag attached to Anna Wintour’s prestigious fundraiser.

Sources previously told Page Six that event-goers have to pay $30,000 to $50,000 per ticket (tables can range between $275,000 to $500,000) — although the costs are usually covered by fashion brands who invite celebrities and models as their guests.

However, this year’s menu for the Met Gala — whose theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” — was particularly unique because it featured a sustainable plant-based menu with recipes from 10 up-and-coming chefs based in New York City, according to Vogue.com.

The restaurant owners and cookbook authors were all hand-selected by restaurateur-chef Marcus Samuelsson and Bon Appétit.

“After a difficult two years for the restaurant industry, this will showcase the work and tell the stories of a dynamic group of chefs while presenting an exciting menu of delicious, plant-based dishes,” Samuelsson said in a press release ahead of the event. “The gala offers an incomparable opportunity for emerging talent to elevate their careers and share their perspectives and craft.”

The menu items listed in the article that were set to be featured at the gala, included a Niçoise-inspired salad, gimbap, coconut custard with tahini-lime Streusel and roasted strawberry jam, Awaze jar noodles, coconut and berry pavlova, and naz khatoon.

A rep for Vogue did not immediately return Page Six’s request for comment.

On the Menu: La Jolla’s Semola restaurant takes Italian gastronomy in a global direction

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Over the past five years, San Diego’s Milano Five Group has made a name for itself with authentic Milanese food at its popular Ambrogio15 pizzerias in Pacific Beach, Little Italy and, now, Del Mar.

But Semola, the latest restaurant from two Milano Five co-founders, Andrea Burrone and Giacomo Pizzigoni, is Milanese by way of South America, the United States, France, South Korea and Japan. Semola, subtitled “an Ambrogio15 Gastronomy Project,” opened in May in the former PrepKitchen restaurant in La Jolla.

Burrone, a native of Milan, Italy, who oversees all of Ambrogio15’s restaurant operations, has brought together a trio of chefs from three countries to develop the menu that seems Italian on its surface, with its mix of carpaccio, pastas and risottos. But Italy is only the starting point for its contemporary, globally inspired menu.

Semola head chef Daniela Martinez readies a dish of fugazzeta risotto served under a glass dome filled with wood smoke. (Bhadri Kubendran)

The two chefs behind the Michelin-starred Ristorante Acquerello near Milan, Silvio Salmoiraghi of Italy and Choi Cheolhyeok of South Korea, along with Italian gastronome Paolo Tucci, consulted on the menu. But its heart and soul is head chef Daniela Martinez, who was born in Argentina and raised in New York in a mostly Puerto Rican-Dominican community.

Martinez has cooked all over San Diego, as pastry chef at Ironside Fish and Oyster, Sugar and Scribe, Bracero and Il Dandy. In 2019, her dessert skills made her a grand champion on Food Network’s “Chopped Sweets Showdown.” But at Semola — the Italian word for pasta flour — Martinez is stretching her wings for the first time as a lead chef.

This is one of two outdoor patios at Semola on Fay Avenue in La Jolla. (Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Semola seats 50 at all-outdoor tables, but a large indoor dining room will open this fall. Diners can order a la carte or a five-course, $99 prix-fixe menu. Dishes range from $13 to $39, with most in the $19 to $25 range.

In October, a new six-seat chef’s table adjacent to the kitchen will offer nightly specialty dinners.

Pizzigoni has curated the list of mostly Italian boutique white, red, rosé, orange and sparkling wines — many made from organically grown grapes — starting at $12 a glass.

Burrone says the menu’s $29 Wagyu starter course best represents Semola’s culinary pedigree and future direction. It has the thin-sliced beef and Parmesan of an Italian carpaccio but is served with the egg yolk, mustard seeds, pepper and herbs of a French beef tartare. Martinez’s version features tender Washugyu beef — a hybrid of Japanese premium cattle with American black Angus — arranged artfully in an “S” (for Semola) and topped with 24-month aged Parmesan, tart radish blossoms and tangy pickled mustard, with the crunch of coarsely ground black pepper and the bright pop of tiny spheres of zesty lemon pepper “caviar.”

Semola’s fugazzeta risotto is inspired by the Argentine onion-topped stuffed pizza known as fugazza. (Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Another Semola specialty is its generously portioned risottos, made with a specialty carnaroli rice that Burrone sources from Milan. The $23 fugazzeta risotto is named after Argentina’s onion-topped stuffed pizza known as fugazza. The rich, creamy and smoky al dente dish is made with melted onions, mozzarella oregano and crispy bread crumb topping and served under a glass dome filled with wood smoke.

Chief among Semola’s main courses, or “priatto principale,” is Cielo, which means “heaven” in English. It’s a juicy duck breast gently cooked sous-vide, so its flavorful layer of under-skin fat hasn’t melted away. It’s served with a sweet Italian wild cherry demi-glace, slow-cooked tomato on the vine, parsnip puree and a savory black garlic emulsion. It’s priced at $35.

The Cielo duck dish at Semola in La Jolla is served with a sweet Italian wild cherry demi-glace, slow-cooked tomato on the vine, parsnip puree and a black garlic emulsion. (Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The dessert menu offers several creative twists on Italian treats, such as a reimagined parfait-style tiramisu, a deconstructed Bellini cocktail made with thin-sliced white peach and peach sorbet topped tableside with bubbly Prosecco; and piccola pasticceria, a traditional Italian box of miniature pastries, which Martinez serves in a cigar box lined with fragrant espresso beans. All desserts are $13.

Semola’s pesca frizzante is a Bellini cocktail-inspired dessert made with thinly sliced white peach and peach sorbet layered into a flower bud shape and topped tableside with Prosecco sparkling wine. (Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Semola

Where: 7556 Fay Ave., La Jolla

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays

Phone: (858) 412-3432

Online: semolapasta.com ◆