In this edition:
- Festive Glamour: When the festive season throws you an occasion, you need to glam it up.
- Andrew McUtchen looks for fun in cricket with former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming.
- Take a look at our Christmas Gift Guide.
In the timber-and-stone-themed James Boag marquee, Melbourne chefs Paul Wilson (Circa), Michael Lambie (The Smith), Luke Brabin (The Botanical) and Darren Purchese (Burch & Purchese) will each create a signature dish with a Tasmanian twist, in a nod to the beers origins.
For entrée, Wilson will serve his san choi bau of Spring Bay seafood; lunch will be Lambies wagyu beef taco, braised in James Boag Premium and served with avocado and sweet-corn salsa. For supper, Brabin will create a brioche roll filled with smoked Tasmanian ocean trout with nori and wasabi, while Purcheses beer and chocolate cream tartlet with fresh waters of Tasmania jelly will be the finale.
In the green-and-growing Swisse marquee, guest chef George Calombaris (The Press Club) has designed an Australian-sourced menu that takes its cue from a sustainable rainforest theme, creating dishes from land, sea and garden that use key ingredients from Swisse products such as green tea, celery and a cornucopia of fruits.
Guests will be treated to a menu of 25 individual items that includes Bannockburn chicken pops, Yarra Valley lamb ribs with miso melitzano and grilled Hervey Bay scallops with taramasalata. Grazing dishes in this extravagant marquee, made from materials that will be either recycled or reused, will include West Australian marron sliders with pickled cucumber. The sweet treat garden finish will feature snails flavoured with liquorice and green-tea slime, bitter chocolate soil with celery salt and raspberry log with papaya ice-cream.
Guillaume Brahimi (Bistro Guillaume) has designed the menu for Crowns first marquee in the Birdcage with a line-up that features Waldorf-style Barossa Valley chicken sandwiches, steamed Crystal Bay prawns with aioli, wagyu beef daube with Paris mash and mini profiteroles with vanilla bean ice-cream.
The Hiltons classic blue and white race day sanctuary will showcase signature dishes from the hotel chains chefs. Hilton on the Park Melbournes executive chef Heshan Peiris said the dishes, which includes citrus-cured Akaroa salmon with wasabi crème from Auckland and crocodile larp on betel leaf with candied sugar cane from Cairns, represent foods and themes specific to each region.
Peiris own contribution, the dessert, includes a trio of classic Victorian ingredients: Rochford sauvignon blanc and passionfruit sorbet; Red Hill cherry and almond cobbler; and cheeses from Yarra Valley Dairy.
In the Lexus marquee Neil Perry (Rockpool) and Simon Denton (Izakaya Den) have created dishes inspired by a highly stylised global theme, supported by caterer The Big Group. Its director, Bruce Keebaugh, says high-profile designers have been used for the crockery (Mud) and glassware (Bison) and aprons have been created to reflect the design of a cars grille. The general space has been designed in collaboration with Izakaya Den and is a way to show Lexus reflecting on its Japanese heritage, he says.
On the Lexus canapés list are pink roast lamb with crushed broad bean and mint hummus, lemon and pistachio praline; prawn carpaccio with smoked paprika on a toasted rosemary and butter wafer; and walnut, crisp shallot and Szechuan pepper-crusted tuna with lime mayonnaise and cucumber escabèche.
Emirates marquee is inspired by a different destination each year, and this year its Dublin. Epicure Caterings head chef of culinary development Tony Cimmino re-created traditional Irish dishes, with a modern twist. The Irish climate lends itself to heavier dishes. Our menu needed to combine a balance of flavours, colours and textures that were traditionally Irish but suitable for spring, he says.
The 28 menu items begin with a trout in the pot honey-cured Tasmanian ocean trout in a pear and verjuice jelly; there are minty blarney meatballs Murray Valley lamb on rosemary skewers with yoghurt and mint sauce; scallops Molly Malone Hervey Bay scallops with pumpkin purée crisp green apple and watercress and an Irish stew.
VRC chief executive Dale Monteith says the specially selected caterers work in addition to Peter Rowland Catering, which has the Flemington contract. The continued success of the Melbourne Cup carnival relies on ensuring that our very high standards are met across all aspects of the event. Food and wine is inextricably linked to the carnival, he says. Epicure Catering will support the main acts in the Emirates, Swisse, Tabcorp, Sofitel and Spotless marquees, employing more than 300 staff to cater to more than 8000 corporate guests.
Among others, Peter Rowland Catering will support Brahimi in the Crown marquee and Treasury Wine Estates 8000 guests in the Birdcage over the course of the Carnival pouring more than 3000 bottles of sparkling, while The Big Group will work with Lexus and the four starring chefs in the James Boag marquees open kitchen, complete with wood-fired pizza oven, dough spinner and herb garden.