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For those with slightly hardier appetites, there is a Wake-Me-Up Benedict with Tabasco hollandaise and beef filet in place of the traditional Canadian back bacon.

"Pork products are a big no-no," Mr. Ricci said.

At the Four Seasons, executive chef Robert Bartley is overseeing the construction of 200 elaborate chocolate installations, which are put in the room of every visiting star but almost never eaten.

This year, the Four Seasons has themed its menus to 1920s Hollywood glamour, and Mr. Bartley has been researching early 20th-century food trends and film titles.

He will serve Moroccan-style Casablanca chicken wings and Sherlock Holmes martinis served on magnifying glass coasters.

But the hotel's main event is the annual George Christy luncheon, an elite party where 140 are invited for cocktails and 80 can stay to eat, meaning that at least 60 people every year attempt to sneak in for the culinary main attraction: chicken pot pie.

The entree's recipe is only slightly modified each year, Mr. Bartley said, when Mr. Christy, a former Hollywood Reporter gossip columnist, calls in his seasonal preference for oregano or thyme.

For this, the 23rd annual luncheon, he has requested phyllo pastry instead of puff and an "Attack of the Heirloom Tomato" appetizer.

"It's George's type of food," Mr. Bartley said. "He dictates. He's so tired of the gourmet food."


Tony Loschiavo, on the other hand, is a proponent of over-the-top richness in his recipes.

The head of L-Eat Catering, an official partner of TIFF, his catering company is booked solid with private soirees, charity dinners and press conferences. But Mr. Loschiavo said planning what to offer at each venue is a challenge.

"These people are throwing a lot of money around," he said. "And they want stuff people haven't seen before."

With most clients, he is asked to prepare a menu that is vetted and amended by organizers, and for this year's Best Buddies event at The Carlu, a 400-seat charity fundraiser with special guest Burt Reynolds, L-Eat is going with upscale variations of classic fare.

Mr. Loschiavo's seared foie gras sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly will be served on mini Ace Bakery brioche, and popcorn bags handed out before screenings will be filled with Cajun-spiced popcorn shrimp.

Grilled New York steak will be sliced, skewered and served in a cone with French fries tossed in parmesan and truffle oil.

"If you're going to have the calories, you might as well go all out," he said.

At this time of year, Mr. Loschiavo's biggest problem is not what to make, but finding people to serve his creations.

A lot of the actors and actresses in the city work as waiters for catering companies, and during the film festival, Mr. Loschiavo said, many of them attend galas, screenings and parties.

"Half our staff really want to work the events and half really can't," he said. "Some of our key people are actors."


At the Drake Hotel, a festival hangout for players who consider themselves more boho than Bloor Street, chef Anthony Rose has challenges of his own.

Besides the 15 large-scale private dinner parties he already has booked during the festival and the demands of his regular clientele, his kitchen is routinely informed at the last minute that a big shot is coming in, and they must clear the back door and prepare something special.

"They usually don't show," he said.

But when they do, Mr. Rose said TIFF attendees can bring some unusual food requests along with their entourage.

Last year, one star delivered the kitchen a handwritten note specifying exactly how she wanted her breakfast cooked. Her egg was to be poached hard for five minutes and 45 seconds. One piece of whole grain toast was to be buttered, while a slice of white was to be cut to an exact thickness and left dry.

"It was really weird," he said. "But you gotta do it."

For a dinner in honour of the Dixie Chicks last year, 12 out of 65 guests had strict dietary requirements.

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