“It was a once in a lifetime experience that I don’t really talk about,” Chef Melissa King says the morning after the Met Gala.
The celebrity chef was selected to prepare the first course of the Met meal that the VIPs enjoyed as soon as they walked in, and got to attend the event as well, dressed as Thom Browne. Below, she talks to us about what the night is like.
Who were you most excited to meet?
“A lot of people in the Asian community got really excited to connect with them, like Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Philip Lim and Prabal Gurung. The whole experience is so surreal because you don’t know who is going to show up as you walk in and everyone there.”
How were you asked to cook at the Met Gala?
“Marcus Samuelson is, as I say, culinary director and Anna’s right-hand manager [Wintour] On this project with the Met. He reached out to me and quickly told me “Hey there is something going on, you’ll get a message” and I already got a message from Anna inviting me to join her as a culinary collaboration and create my first course at the Met. And I had no idea I was going to try everything and do the red carpet and enjoy the whole evening.”
What did you finish making the first dish?
“I wanted to make something really inspired by my view of America and what it is today, so I made a hamachi crudo and put it in a citrus broth, more ceviche style with a bit of a Latin influence there. I layered it with yuzu koshu olive tapenade, which has a Japanese flavor.” -Italian, and then I sprayed Sichuan chili oil, which pulls my Chinese background into the dish. I wanted to keep it seasonal, light, and fresh, because I knew everyone would wear fancy dresses and costumes.”
That night, King did her own makeup, Adam Balheim styled her hair, Dana Boyer’s hair and wore custom nail protectors from Chrishabana Jewelry.
“I wanted to throw in a bit of my culture,” she said of nail protectors. “Chrishabana created it and really gave it to me. He took the nail protector, and added a whole hand to it, so it looked like a shield, as if I were dipping my hand in gold.”