For the first time in its 77-year history, guests at the prestigious entertainment awards The Golden Globes awards show are being served up a completely plant-based meal. According to a statement from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the menu change – which occurred a mere two weeks before tonight’s party, is an effort to raise awareness about climate change.
The decision aligns with the vegan-burger craze sweeping the United States, and heightened public awareness of the negative environmental impacts of the beef industry. Agriculture and ranching industries are the biggest greenhouse gas emitters after fossil fuel energy production. Farming accounts for more global emissions than transportation.
“If there’s a way we can save the planet, maybe we can get the Golden Globes to send a signal and draw attention to the issue about climate change,” HFPA president Lorenzo Soria told The Associated Press, adding, “The food we eat, the way we grow the food we eat, the way we dispose of the food is one of the large contributors to the climate crisis.”
The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association beginning in January 1944, recognizing excellence in film, both American and International, and the American television.
Hollywood heavyweights and climate change activists Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo took to Twitter to cheer what some consider a bold food choice. “Our industry leads by example. Vegetarian food is delicious and healthy and reduces greenhouse gasses about as much as driving electric cars. The HFPA should be commended for this and all the other awards shows should follow suit,” tweeted Ruffalo.
The awards show has proven itself adaptable to Hollywood diet trends: the menu long featured fish as an alternative entrée to beef, and went gluten-free in 2015. Steak hasn’t been an option since 2017.
Matthew Morgan, executive chef at the Beverly Hilton where the dinner is held said he understood the revised menu would broadcast a positive message internationally, “It was a little shocking when first announced, because of being very close to the actual Globes ceremony and having already decided on a menu,” he said, “But once we thought about it and the message that it sent, we were really excited about it. That’s something I stand behind myself.”
So what is the chef cooking up for Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt, and Eddie Murphy? Celebs will tuck into a starter of chilled golden beet soup, followed by king oyster mushroom “scallops” and wild mushroom risotto, along with roasted baby purple and green Brussels sprouts and carrots. For dessert, there’s a vegan “chocolate opera dome” with praline crumble and caramelized hazelnuts. Natural spring water will be served in glass bottles; plastic water bottles are not welcome on the red carpet and ballroom.
“While the intent is good, the impact is likely to be minimal,” the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said in a statement. “If all livestock in the U.S. were eliminated and every American followed a vegan diet,” greenhouse-gas emissions would only drop by 2.6%, the group said, citing a study from the National Academy of Sciences.
Veganism has evolved from a niche diet, and the award show’s culinary choice is another example of how mainstream it’s become. Fast food chains now offer vegan options, consider Burger King’s whopper featuring an Impossible Burger patty, and KFC is experimenting with BeyondMeat fried “chicken.” Disney World is adding 400 plant-based dishes to its theme park menus. Reducing or eliminating animal products from our diets doesn’t seem like much of a challenge anymore.
According to The Economist, there is empirical data to show an American lifestyle change is afoot: a quarter of 25 to 34-year-old Americans (a/k/a millenials) claim they are vegan or vegetarian.
The Golden Globe Awards recognize excellence in American and international film and television, based on voting by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The event is a major part of the film industry’s awards season, which culminates each year in the Academy Awards.