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.

Large long tables running down a room. Perspective is from the head of the tables all beautifully set up with tableware and candles ready for a dinner.

The First Supper with Guy Grossi

By Bree Pagliuso|

For one night only, who better to pair with da Vinci than Guy Grossi, the celebrated Italian-Australian chef. The First Supper welcomed guests to be among the first to witness THE LUME Melbourne's extraordinary and highly anticipated experience, Leonardo Da Vinci - 500 Years of Genius, presented by Webuild.

Elevating the dining experience, Grossi perfectly curated a menu celebrating Italy's rich history with a fusion of regional flavours and traditions.

Born and raised in Melbourne to migrant parents, Grossi's deep connection to his Italian heritage is evident in his approach to hospitality and cuisine. His upbringing, steeped in Italian traditions, and his profound appreciation for food, celebration, and generosity around the family table made him the perfect companion for THE LUME Melbourne One Night Only event, 'The First Supper'.


Blown away by the space and the da Vinci projections, Guy quickly found inspiration for creating the perfect menu for The First Supper.

"This period of Renaissance Italy makes me think of Rome and the ancient historical dishes and recipes served. I think of the Jewish quarter, the Ghetto in Rome, and rustic, simple dishes. When refining the menu for The First Supper, I wanted to draw on these ideas, taking inspiration from Rome and the deep Italian and religious meanings behind this artwork."


You mentioned that the inspiration for the menu came from the art itself. How did you select the dishes for this event?

"The art was a starting point. But then you have to consider the scale of the event, the strong cultural and historical significance, and which dishes can cater to a large audience. I wanted dishes with a distinct Roman heritage to keep as close to their original form as possible, refining them only slightly to suit the event.

We served filled pasta, Carcioncini della Cucina Ebraico, a classic Roman recipe mostly unchanged, accompanied with romanesca silverbeet, pecorino, sage, pinenuts, and sultanas. Authenticity is important when such a significant artist is connected to the event."


Hearing about the culinary traditions behind dishes like abbacchio alla Romana and Roman burnt cheesecake is fascinating.

Can you share more about the dishes chosen for The First Supper event?

"The abbachio alla Romana is one of the first dishes I learned to cook. My dad taught me this dish. Typically, it's a very rustic dish, but we make different variations to suit the setting. It is one of those dishes that everyone really loves because, at the heart of it, it has simple, tasty flavours and a nice cut of meat that takes time to cook.

The cheesecake is a traditional dish from the Jewish Quarter in Rome. Bakeries still make this cheesecake today, and people travel there to enjoy it. The cheesecake is traditionally covered in pastry to hide the ricotta filling, as at the time, Jewish people were forbidden from selling dairy products. Because of this tradition, Rome now has one of the most delicious cherry and ricotta-filled pastries at its core."


The First Supper is about more than just food and art—it's a cultural experience.

What do you hope guests took away from this unique dining experience at THE LUME Melbourne?

"I'd like to think an event like this is about more than food, wine or even art. It's where people can gather to share stories and ideas prompted by their surroundings and what is on the table. I hope people formed connections and we're inspired by their experiences at THE LUME Melbourne's The First Supper."

Your Italian heritage is clearly reflected in your approach to cooking and creating menus.

"My heritage is always the core of what we cook and how we serve. It's genuine Italian hospitality at the core. We always use our Italian territory as a guide for our cooking and hope that the Italian culture can be preserved through food and art."


And lastly, Italian food culture is known for its depth and significance beyond just sustenance. Can you share traditions or ingredients that are special to you?

"The traditional dishes from my mum and dad's hometowns are important. Like orecchiette with cime di rapa from Puglia, where my dad is from. My mum's lasagne will always remind me of them and their origins. They were both such brilliant cooks and have greatly inspired my cooking.

Food is not just about eating; it's a way of life. We use food to gather, talk, share and love. We plan the next meal while eating this one. Food is for sustenance, yes, but it is also sustenance for your soul."


The event truly was a feast for all the senses.

Visit THE LUME Melbourne at MCEC any day of the week and explore the life of the visionary artist, inventor, scientist and philosopher through the incredible immersive experience, Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius, presented by Webuild.