How to eat at an after party

The 5 most important things I learned at the ‘To The Wonder’ bash all have to do with securing the free food

The Hugo Boss/GQ 'To The Wonder' TIFF after party at Modus Ristorante (George Pimentel/Getty)

The life lessons don’t come courtesy of Rachel McAdams, who cozied up on a white leather couch with friends and family in a striking green single-shouldered Elie Saab dress –and whose role in Terrence Malick’s latest film apparently got stripped to just 12 minutes. Nor from Olga Kurylenko, the former Quantum of Solace Bond girl who became the default lead in To the Wonder after Rachel Weisz’s  part was cut entirely. And not from actor Michael Sheen, McAdam’s boyfriend (whose part was also cut from the film), although I think he could teach me a thing or two considering he spent the majority of the evening talking to arguably the two best-dressed ladies in the room: Darrell Kirkland (she’s thanked in the credits of Malick’s third movie, The Thin Red Line) and Rose Styron, a poet and human rights activist, whose late husband was Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Styron.

The five most important things I learned came courtesy of Lainey Lui of and CTV’s eTalk. Our paths crossed a number of times during the festival. During the second night on September 7 at Soho House, I spotted her downing a bowl of paella and then calling over a server to secure a second helping, without a hint of being self-conscious.

“I can learn from this person,” I thought.

You see, the great thing about the food at these parties is that it’s free. And the funny thing is that the talent rarely eats any of it. That leaves media types and non-celebrity guests to vie for the comestibles.

And that’s exactly what Lui, who was in fine form September 10 at the To The Wonder after party, did. The gossip maven secured several pulled pork mini-tacos, two bowls of lobster poutine, a couple plates of sushi and a mini-grilled cheese.

Here’s how:

1.  Case out the venue. Note where the servers are coming out with full trays of lobster poutine/sliders/ahi tuna mini tacos/shrimp on a stick/whatever. Position yourself there. Do not move. When the food comes out you’ll be first and – bonus! – it’ll still be warm.

2.  Second best spot: the reserved sections where the stars are seated and get their food brought to them. These people don’t eat. So when they get up to talk to someone, or when they leave, you can lean over and snatch a risotto ball. Believe me, famous people are so self-involved, they won’t even notice. And besides, just because they’re letting the sushi go to waste, it doesn’t mean you should.

3.  If possible, go to the party with aggressive people. If you’re alone, befriend some. The aggressive people are the ones doing all the eating. Because they have no shame shoving aside anything in their way to get to that server. The Sarah Jessica Parkers of the world can’t afford to make those kinds of moves. It’s not elegant in a celebrity. You don’t have to worry about looking low-classy. All you need to worry about is not being hungry anymore.

4.  Stand in a line of sight formation with your group, each person covering a corner of the room so that no surface area is unobserved. That way you don’t miss a single server who walks by with a tray. Each person is responsible for his/her own quadrant. This is teamwork. You work as a team, you eat as a team.

5.  Be nice to the staff. They’re the ones who control distribution. And at these events most of the guests don’t bother to talk to what they consider the “little people.” If you take the time to acknowledge the kind people working to feed you, they won’t let you go hungry.

Inside the Hugo Boss/GQ 'To The Wonder' after party (George Pimentel/Getty)

Olga Kurylenko and guest: note the lobster poutine and the sushi (George Pimentel/Getty)

Rachel McAdams (George Pimentel/Getty)

Darrell Kirkland, Michael Sheen and Rose Styron (George Pimentel/Getty)

Lainey Lui (George Pimentel/Getty)


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