By Gwen O’Toole
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) lit up with Starlight on May 26 when around 500 guests gathered to enjoy an evening of fine food and wine for the Starlight Foundation’s annual Starlight Five Chefs Dinner.
For the fifth year running, MCEC has been a proud sponsor of the event which saw one of its function spaces beautifully transformed by Trumpet Events into a botanical wonderland supporting the evening’s theme of ‘Let Their Laughter Grow.’
Centrepieces featured a variety of garden plants (a take home gift for guests,) rustic wooden planter boxes and plenty of lights to give the room a starry glow.
A five course degustation prepared by some of Melbourne finest chefs was matched with Australian wines for this remarkable fundraiser, bringing in over $380,000 for the Foundation. The event, which started in 1993 is Starlight’s signature event and is now held in five cities across the country.
In Melbourne, featured chefs included Alla Wolf-Tasker AM (Lake House Daylesford), Frank Camorra (MoVida), Guy Grossi (Grossi Restaurants and proud Starlight ambassador), Scott Pickett (ESP and Estelle), and MCEC’s own award-winning pastry duo, Alessandro Bartesaghi and Ian Burch. Additionally, pre-event canapés were prepared by MCEC’s own executive chef, Peter Haycroft.
With over a hundred item available for auction on the night, the evening include both silent auctions as well as a live auction for a variety of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences such as a private dinner parties with some of the featured chefs.
MCEC’s Alessandro Bartesaghi and Ian Burch delighted diners with their tropical inspired dessert of organic vanilla yoghurt cremeux with textures of coconut, mango and pineapple.
“It was an enormous honour for Alessandro and Ian to be part of this years’ featured line-up and their sensational dessert was the perfect finish to an outstanding evening. It’s a great reflection of how truly talented our culinary team is here at MCEC,” said executive chef Peter Haycroft.
The event also included inspirational stories from a former Starlight child, Daniel Monks, who spoke about how Starlight’s hospital programs helped him as well as an address from Starlight CEO, Louise Baxter.
The Starlight Foundation relies solely on the community to deliver their hospital and Starlight Wish programs.