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How To Eat Like an A-Lister at The Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Scouted/The Daily Beast/Frank Lee.
Scouted/The Daily Beast/Frank Lee.

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On Sunday, as Hollywood’s A-list heads to one of the biggest after parties of the year following the Oscars (or for some, even while the ceremony is still underway—there are staggered times in which people are instructed to arrive. It’s a whole thing.), one of LA’s most celebrated chefs, Evan Funke, will be at the ready to feed its masses. What do you feed a crowd composed of movie stars contractually dressed in custom gowns and seven-figure jewels, finicky musicians, fashion people, athletes, and royalty at the 30th Vanity Fair Oscars Party? Forget caviar bumps, wagyu beef, and white alba truffle. Instead, Mr. Funke will fire up $12,000 worth of outdoor pizza ovens to sling Neapolitan-style pies.

Chef Evan Funke
Frank Lee.

That’s right, guests at one of the hottest parties of the year will burn their mouths on fresh-from-the-oven slices eaten from cocktail napkins, like it’s some kind of middle school sleepover. Of course, the pizza will taste exceptionally good: Funke is a master of Italian cooking. And while he knows the best way to an extra-crispy slice is by letting a pie rest on a metal rack for about 45 seconds before allowing guests to grease up their fingers, if Sunday’s scene is anything like the preview I attended at the Funke Rooftop in Beverly Hills this week, little slices won’t stand a chance at even a 10-second rest—party goers will be grabbing diavola rations just as soon as they emerge from the oven.

Chef Evan Funke Oscars 2024
Frank Lee.

All to say, the rest of us have a better chance of eating like the stars on Oscar Sunday if we make it a pizza party and follow Funke’s pizza playbook. The first rule? Don’t sweat the technique. “There are no mistakes,” Funke says. “Even if you mess it up, the worst that can happen is pizza.” Ahead, the celebrated chef shares his best advice and favorite tools for making award-winning pizza at home.

Gozney Roccbox

If you foresee a summer of slinging nothing but pizzas in the backyard, it may be worth investing in an outdoor pizza oven. Some can be had for as little as a few hundred bucks, but Funke likes to work with a pricier version and will be using this option for the Vanity Fair party come Sunday. “There are a multitude of propane-powered pizza ovens, but if you have the means, my personal favorite is the Gozney Roccbox or, if you really want to splurge, the Gozney Dome,” he says.

Buy Gozney Roccbox at Gozney, $500

Outset Pizza Grill Tiles (4-Pack)

If you’re not ready to invest in a dedicated pizza oven, using your kitchen’s own can work, Funke says. Though using a conventional oven can be challenging, he offers this hack: “The best way to create enough thermal mass in a home oven is to buy two pizza stones,” he says. “Place one pizza stone on the lowest rack possible next to the heating element and place the other on the topmost portion of the oven. Make sure you preheat the oven for at least 45 minutes to an hour in order to saturate the stones with enough heat.”

Buy Outset Pizza Grill Tiles (4-Pack) at Target, $35

Fazeek Zigzag Platter in Mint

Between charred cheese and oddly-stretched dough shapes, homemade pizzas can come out looking less-than-pretty more often than not. One way to elevate the experience for guests, no matter what your pies look like, is to serve them on unexpected dishware. The saw blade edge on this platter adds style to whatever you’re serving, while an almost flat edge makes grabbing a slice easy. What’s more, at 15 inches wide, it’s the perfect size for homemade pies.

Buy Fazeek Zigzag Platter in Mint at Fazeek, $129

Lamson 12-Inch Pizza Rocker

If cutting your pizza on a ceramic or stoneware surface, Funke suggests reaching for a classic pizza cutter. But if parsing out slices from a wood surface, he suggests using a mezzaluna, or pizza rocker, which doesn’t mash toppings or drag cheese along with it, like a pizza wheel can. This 12-inch pizza rocker isn’t just sharp and effective: with American-made stainless steel, brass and walnut, it drips of craftsmanship and classic style.

Buy Lamson 12-Inch Pizza Rocker at Amazon, $46

Williams Sonoma Epicurean Pizza Peel

Funke says he has “absolutely used a clean piece of cardboard to load a pizza into the oven at home.” But for those working with a propane pizza oven in the backyard, investing in a pizza peel (the tool used to slide pies in and out of the oven) is a good idea. Try this American-made wood fiber and recycled paper composite option, which boasts multiple sustainability certifications and, with the addition of a little flour, offers a perfectly slick surface from which to launch pies.

Buy Williams Sonoma Epicurean Pizza Peel at Williams Sonoma, $55

Afeltra San Marzano Tomatoes

Of the 10,000 or so types of tomatoes out there, Funke relies on the concentrated flavor and low acidity of San Marzanos to sauce a pizza. This type of tomato is widely counterfeited, so look for a can that bears a Consorzio San Marzano certification number and DOP seal, which promises the tomatoes inside were grown to standard in Southern Italy’s Agro Sarnese-Nocerino district.

Buy Afeltra San Marzano Tomatoes at Eataly, $10

Antimo Caputo Chefs Flour

Don’t even ask Funke about using ready-made pizza dough. “No one should make pizza on the fly—plan for it and make it special,” he says. Funke suggests looking for low-yeast, long ferment dough recipes, which “keep in the fridge for up to seven days. They are beautiful,” he says.

Buy Antimo Caputo Chefs Flour at Amazon, $15

Miraval Champagne Fleur de Miraval ER2 in Gift Box

If you really want to celebrate on Oscars night like the stars, pair your carbs with this champagne, the bubbly to be poured during the Oscar ceremony (and produced by the Pitt family, who else). It blends a very young pinot with a reserve chardonnay for a flavor that’s both fresh and creamy.

Buy Miraval Champagne Fleur de Miraval ER2 in Gift Box at Wine.com, $400

MORE FROM SCOUTED:

This Is a Pizza Lover’s Wet Dream

This Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven Cooks Pizzas in Just One Minute

I’m Opening a Pizzeria in My Backyard Thanks to The Roccbox Pizza Oven

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