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.

A bird's eye view of a sumptuous spread of savory dishes, perfectly arranged on a table. The assortment includes delectable appetizers, main courses, and side dishes, each presented with artistic precision. Two pairs of hands reach towards the mouth watering food, eager to savour the flavours and textures of the culinary delights.

Graduation Makes Food the Focus – Now and for The Future

Graduates of Le Cordon Bleu Melbourne Institute of Culinary Arts and their families joined us to celebrate their achievements in person and in style at MCEC on 25 February 2021.

Graduates of Le Cordon Bleu Melbourne Institute of Culinary Arts and their families joined us to celebrate their achievements in person and in style at MCEC on 25 February 2021.

More than 125 students, family members and friends enjoyed a cocktail event with a difference. Two of our rooms facing riverside opened to the outdoor courtyard, giving guests, mostly international visitors, a great view of the Yarra River and some Melbourne sunshine. Eat stations – MCEC's striking food stands – created a friendly atmosphere where guests could meet and chat while choosing from a selection of dishes that showcase Melbourne’s diverse food scene.

With food the focus of the graduation and Le Cordon Bleu, we designed a menu with the variety and style to reflect the prestige of the event, and impress the world’s most food obsessed students.

Three chefs in an industrial kitchen chopping potatoes and placing them in pots for cooking.
Delicious, fun and COVID-safe

MCEC chefs created a menu that began with hot and cold Asian and Italian inspired canapes and included a grazing station and a tapas table with antipasti, whipped avocado on charcoal lavosh, chicken parfait on a savoury Monte Carlo biscuit, and crispy prawn tails. The very popular sweet eat station featured Rocky Road Smash and Honeycomb Crumble that guests could box up and take home.

The eat station style of delivery provided a delicious and diverse experience and was also a COVID-safe option, allowing for multiple food points, easy access for guests, and space for social distancing.

We’ve also ramped up health and safety measures in kitchen. On top of our comprehensive Food Safety Plan, the Kitchen team has added precautions including cleaning and sanitising all incoming packaged food and produce, increasing the use of PPE, and increased cleaning and sanitisation of kitchen benches, surfaces and handles. Training, rostering, daily safety briefings and designated employee-only areas are helping keep our kitchen team and our customers safe.

In the new world of COVID-19, flexible solutions have become essential in events and MCEC was able to provide both. Greg O’Shea, Program Manager at Le Cordon Bleu, described MCEC as a “safe bet”.

Planning an event during COVID-19 is enough to put a shiver down your spine! We needed to be able to change the event and the numbers at short notice and we knew that a large venue like MCEC could provide flexibility and certainty – in spaces, food and safety,” he said.

Creating memorable moments

As special guest speaker at the graduation, MCEC’s Executive Chef Peter Haycroft congratulated the graduates on their hard work and dedication and wished them every success in the industry.

He highlighted the unique opportunity that the graduates have every day to make an impact. “Every dish you create can make a memorable moment in a person’s life. You will likely not know the impact you have, but food is one of our most powerful memories,” he said.

Supporting skills with real life experience

Le Cordon Bleu, founded in Paris in 1895, is the largest network of culinary and hospitality schools in the world with more than 35 institutes in 20 countries and 20,000 students of over 100 nationalities are trained every year. Some of those very students have trained right here at MCEC!

As part of their curriculum, Le Cordon Bleu students spend six months working in a professional kitchen. We’ve been delighted to welcome 12 students each year (six students in six-month blocks in specialist pastry and savoury production and service).

It’s a win-win for MCEC and Le Cordon Bleu. As Peter Haycroft explains, “It is important for young people to get experience in the day-to-day environment of a professional kitchen. It’s also great for MCEC as the students have excellent skills considering they are relatively new to the industry and are able to adapt very quickly”.

To find out how our flexible, COVIDsafe and delicious food and beverage options can work for your next event, contact our Sales Team.