Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

Crowd of people sitting outside in a garden between two buildings. The sun is behind the camera making the scene very bright. The garden is green with lots of plant life.

AIME Blossoms at MCEC Garden Gathering

MCEC hosted close to 1,000 hosted buyers, exhibitors, media partners and associates for the Asia Pacific Incentives Meetings Event (AIME) annual industry networking night on Tuesday 18 February.

The AIME Garden Gathering, transformed MCEC’s Goldfields foyer and courtyard spaces into a garden oasis, complete with palm trees, an interactive strawberry patch, and a selection of botanical-inspired cocktails.

MCEC Director of Sales, Darren Waite said the evening was an opportunity for MCEC to put its best foot forward to the industry.

“The AIME Garden Gathering was a chance to showcase our ability to host an informal networking event through the creative use of our spaces,” Mr Waite said.

“As always, delivering this event involved a ‘One Team’ approach, with the sales, planning, food and beverage and technology teams all working together on developing new ideas for theming, menu and event production.

“As Melbourne’s destination for big ideas and inspirational events, this event really showcased our attention to detail and our ability to create an intimate event that exceeds the expectations of even the most discerning event organiser.”

The evening showcased a hearty selection of hot and cold canapés including: flat noodle chicken ‘hor fun’ rolls, garden pea and mint croquettes with parmesan mayonnaise and micro basil, and seared scallops with sweet corn puree, Yarra Valley salmon caviar and parsley oil.

These supported four main eating stations that offered ‘interactive eating’ with the themes of The Rotisserie, Prawns a Plenty, Strawberry Fields and Fresh from the Farm.

At the Strawberry Fields station, attendees were invited to pick their own Sunny Ridge strawberries fresh from the earth of MCEC’s new Food Cubes.

“Our menu was incredibly well received, and while customers now expect a range of options for all dietary requirements, we also pride ourselves on achieving this with produce that is as local as possible,” Mr Waite said.

“This also extends into our beverage offering, where local spirits and mixers take pride of place.

“Our Spiked Outback Lemonade was extremely popular and features Four Pillars Gin from the Yarra Valley, finger lime and lemon myrtle.”

The abundance of food and drink didn’t hold guests back from networking, with the theatrical installations – including five metre high palm trees – creating a talking point for guests.

“The AIME networking evening presented us with a great opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in delivering truly unique and memorable events,” Mr Waite said.

“Good food and entertainment always makes networking in a casual environment more enjoyable and ultimately more productive, which I believe the Garden Gathering delivered.