“It was a once in a lifetime experience and truly I have no words,” says chef Melissa King, the morning following the Met Gala.
The famous chef was tapped to create the first course of the Met meal that VIPs enjoyed once inside, and got to attend the event as well, dressed in Thom Browne. Below, she chats with us about what the night was like.
Who were you most excited to meet?
“So many of the people in the Asian community I felt really excited to connect with, like Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Phillip Lim, Prabal Gurung. The whole experience is so surreal because you don’ know who is going to show up and you walk in and everyone is there.”
How were you asked to cook for the Met Gala?
“Marcus Samuelsson is, I would say, the culinary director, right-hand director to Anna [Wintour] on this project with the Met. He reached out and quickly told me ‘Hey, something is happening, you’re going to get a message’ and I actually received a message from Anna inviting me to join in as a culinary collaboration and create the first course at the Met. And I had no idea I was going to get to experience the whole thing and do the red carpet and enjoy the whole evening.”
What did you end up creating for the first dish?
“I wanted to create something truly inspired by my take of America and what it is today, so I created a hamachi crudo and I put it in a citrus broth, more ceviche style with a bit of a Latin influence there. I layered it with a yuzu kosho olive tapenade, which has more of a Japanese-Italian flavor profile, and then I drizzled in a Szechuan chili oil, which pulls in my Chinese background into the dish. I wanted to keep it seasonal and light and refreshing, because I knew that everyone was going to be wearing fancy dresses and outfits.”
For the night, King did her own makeup, was styled by Adam Ballheim, hair by Dana Boyer and wore custom nail guards by Chrishabana Jewelry.
“I wanted to throw in a bit of my culture,” she said of the nail guards. “Chrishabana created it and really nailed it. He took the nail guards, added a whole hand to it, so it looked like armor, like I dipped my hand in gold.”