Issue 85 – May – 2019

HOT 100

Hotels, Resorts & Venues


All the latest trends in

the culinary space


Spice sits down with

the former White House

director of events


Why ICC Sydney is taking a balanced

approach to food and beverage





Join us on a discovery of the best new ideas, innovative products and the

coolest spaces for your next event.


Brought to you by the team behind A LIST Guide and Spice

inspiring creativity


May 2019







5 Upfront

All the details on Sydney’s

new convention centre

12 Cover story

Step into the kitchen at ICC Sydney

14 Hot 100

We reveal the top hotels, resorts and

venues as voted by our readers

22 Large-scale catering

Australia’s biggest venues

are rethinking traditional

food and beverage

27 Q&A: Karen Martini

The renowned chef shares

her thoughts on the current

culinary landscape

28 Food and beverage insight

Spice talks sustainable menus

and non-alcoholic drinks

34 The Calile

Brisbane’s new urban resort has

people talking (and for good reason)

38 Hot spot: Melbourne

Explore what’s new and trending

in the capital of cool

40 Insider: Laura Schwartz

Spice sits down with the former

White House director of events

www.spicenews.com.au 3


Food for thought

Managing Director

Simon Grover


James Wells


Brittney Levinson

Brittney Levinson


National Sales Team


Katherine Ross, Charlotte Marshall

Head of Circulation

Chris Blacklock

ph 1800 651 422

Production Manager

Jacqui Cooper


Production Assistant

Natasha Jara


Graphic Designer

Alyssa Coundouris


Tony Willson

The opinions expressed by contributors

and advertisers in SPICE magazine are not

necessarily those of Food and Beverage

Media's management or staff.

All material contained in SPICE is copyright.

Spice Magazine Team

Group sales and

marketing manager

+ 61 2 8586 6176

Katherine Ross


+61 2 8586 6216

Sales and

marketing manager

Charlotte Marshall


Welcome to the May edition of

Spice Magazine and our annual

food and beverage issue. Having

previously worked on food magazines, this

issue was an exciting one for me as I got to

revisit some familiar topics and speak to

some great chefs and culinary leaders.

In the business events industry, food

and beverage is a crucial element to the

success of any event. In my opinion, chefs

working in event venues and conference

centres have one of the toughest jobs in

the industry – where else would a chef

be feeding the same group of people for

breakfast, lunch and dinner?

These executive chefs, sous chefs, junior

chefs and everyone in between have

their work cut out for them, tasked with

bringing new, exciting dining experiences

to the plate for thousands of people every

day. Catering to the masses also comes

with its challenges, such as the rising

number of dietary and allergy requirements

to adhere to, logistics management and the

increasing need for sustainable practices.

All of these topics and more are covered

on page 22, where I spoke to four executive

chefs about the ins and outs of largescale

catering. I also had the privilege of

interviewing Karen Martini, ambassador

chef for Trippas White Group (page 27),

and Emma Yee, CEO at Peter Rowland

(page 31), who shared insights into their

roles and the broader hospitality industry

at present.

In this issue, we also announce all the

deserving winners of the 2019 Spice Hot

100: Hotels, Resorts & Venues (page 14),

explore one of the country’s newest urban

resorts (page 34) and sit down with the

former White House director of events,

Laura Schwartz (page 40).

Enjoy the issue!

Spice Magazine and spicenews.com.au are proud media partners of:




+61 2 8586 6152

Alyssa Coundouris


Visit SpiceNews.com.au for the latest industry news as it happens.

Our twice-weekly updates cover venues, suppliers, destinations and technology,

as well as inspiration and tips to help you plan stand-out events.

@SpiceNews @SpiceNewsMag @SpiceNewsMag Spice Magazine

SPICE Magazine is published by

The Food and Beverage Media

Pty Ltd (ABN 81 163 792 292)

41 Bridge Road, Glebe NSW 2037

ph: 02 9660 2113, fax: 02 9660 4419

ISSN 1832-7176


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mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication

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Copyright © 2019 - Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd.

4 Spice May 2019


New convention

centre for Sydney

Crown Group’s Wayne Taranto

speaks to Spice Magazine

about how the upcoming Infinity

development will cater to the

meetings and events industry.

Sydney will welcome a brand new convention venue

in the fourth quarter of this year, with the opening

of Infinity Convention Centre at Green Square.

The venue will form part of Crown Group’s $575 million

mixed-use development, Infinity by Crown Group, which

is nearing completion in Sydney’s inner south.

The centre will have capacity for up to 450 delegates and

will comprise a main event space, two smaller meeting

rooms and a pre-function area.

Speaking to Spice Magazine, Crown Group director of

hotels and suites Wayne Taranto said the centre will be

a suitable alternative to venues in the CBD and airport

precincts, especially when demand is high.

“The primary focus markets will be conferences,

seminars, trade exhibitions, product launches and

dinners,” he said.

Crown Group will manage the sales for the centre, while

an external operator will be appointed to provide catering

and services. The centre will include onsite kitchen

facilities to cater for large-scale functions.

Alongside 362 residential apartments, Infinity by Crown

Group will also feature a 90-room serviced apartment

hotel, named Skye Suites Green Square, and a dining and

retail offering. Delegates and hotel guests will enjoy direct

access from the Green Square train station, making the

venue easily accessible from both the city and airport.

“We forsee this development as a one-stop location,

with a residential component, a great retail precinct and

a hotel complimented by a beautiful convention centre

facility,” said Taranto.

“Conference organisers like to have their delegates in

one location, so I think that will be an advantageous part

of the centre for us.” n

“The primary focus markets

will be conferences, seminars,

trade exhibitions, product

launches and dinners”

Top five

most clicked spicenews.com.au

Crown Group

1 reveals new

convention centre

Infinity Convention Centre

is set to open in Sydney’s

Green Square in the

fourth quarter of 2019.

The Central

2 Coast’s new

restaurant and bar

John Singleton’s latest

NSW venue, The Bon

Pavilion, includes a bar,

eatery and event spaces.

Emporium Hotel

3 South Bank

unveils rooftop bar

People are flocking to

Brisbane’s new rooftop

venue to take in the

impressive river views.

North Sydney

4 welcomes new

rooftop bar

Green Moustache caters

for up to 300 guests and

features rooftop views and

a private dining space.

Two late-night

5 venues set to

open at QVB

Trippas White Group has

opened two late-night

venues, Reign and

Esquire, in Sydney’s QVB.

www.spicenews.com.au 5

Micro hotel rooms

Hotels are going back to basics and

downsizing their rooms to cater to overnight

travellers who only want the bare essentials.

Canberra’s Ovolo Nishi has jumped on the

trend with their new ultra-stylish micro rooms.

Festoon lighting

A great way to bring garden

party vibes to any event, festoon

lighting is a hit year round.

Edible insects

Crispy critters are hopping onto menus across

the country, think crickets, ants and worms. Are

you game enough to try them?

Designer foods

Producers are getting

innovative to reimagine

traditional foods. Take

Australian producer Grape

Co. for example, which

grows GMO-free grapes

in a variety of surprising

flavours like cotton candy

and butterscotch. We tried

them; they are delicious.

Confusing hashtags

Make sure your event hashtag

is simple and easy to remember,

and communicate it to guests

prior to and during the event.

Avoid having multiple hashtags

for your event or delegates will

#boycott it altogether.

Speakers that don’t hit the mark

A good speaker can set the tone and

engage your audience, while a bad one

will have delegates itching to leave. Make

sure your speaker is prepared, knows how

to tell a great story and won’t go way off

script (if you were at MEA Evolve, you’ll

know what we mean).

Going up,

going down

Clueless wait staff

Your wait staff should be

able to tell customers

what food they’re serving

and what’s in it.

Boring buffets

With so many venues upping the ante with

their food and beverage offering, boring

buffets just won’t cut it anymore. Think outside

the box with presentation and ingredients to

ensure guests want to come back for seconds.

6 Spice May 2019

Industry news




Events secured

through the

BFP include:

UITP 2021 Global Public

Transport Summit


$4.6m economic value

2019 SportAccord

World Sport and

Business Summit

Gold Coast

$6.7m economic value

145th IATA Slot

Conference 2019


$3.2m economic value

13th Congress of

International Plant

Molecular Biology 2021


$4.2m economic value

It has been 12 months since applications opened for

Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program.

Spice checks in with executive general manager of

events Penny Lion to see where the program is at and

what impact it’s having on the industry.

Since the launch of Tourism Australia’s

Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP),

it has helped bring multi-million-dollar

international events to the country.

As Australia’s first ever federal governmentfunded

business events bid fund, the program

sees $12 million made available over three years

to help increase the conversion of new business

events for Australia.

To date, Tourism Australia has received

applications for 65 events, 17 of which have

converted to business worth more than $220

million. According to Penny Lion, executive general

manager of events at Tourism Australia, these

positive results prove how effective the program is.

“From the outset the industry overwhelmingly

welcomed the initiative and have been very

receptive in seeking to access the BFP to convert

new business,” she says.

Given the increasingly competitive nature of

business events, the BFP couldn’t have come at a

better time for Australia. The program also helps

overcome the “time, distance, cost” barriers to

travel, says Lion.

“Whilst we are recognised globally for

the talent of our people, our expertise in key

knowledge sectors, as well as our state-ofthe-art

infrastructure, event delivery expertise

and destination appeal, it can still be hard to

overcome these barriers, but the BFP can help

with that,” she says.

“It makes Australia more competitive and

helps to secure events by offering financial

support at the crucial stage where we are in direct

competition with other countries.”

In the long term, the BFP will help secure

ongoing benefits for Australia as a business

events destination.

“The BFP is supporting events that will take

place in Australia as far out as 2023, providing

consistent and long-term economic benefits for

our country,” says Lion.

“It also helps develop the event pipeline

for destinations in Australia, as international

customers become more aware of the BFP and

how it can help them deliver cost-effective events.”

With the three-year program entering its

second year, Lion says the results to date are

showing very positives signs for the industry.

“We expect the BFP will continue to provide

the industry with a competitive advantage that

grows this conversion for Australia.” n

www.spicenews.com.au 7


Daydream Island reopens

Daydream Island Resort has officially welcomed guests back, after

Tropical Cyclone Debbie forced its closure in early 2017.

Following a $100 million renovation project, the iconic resort has

been transformed with refurbished spaces, new restaurants and bars,

expansive suites looking out to the Whitsundays and an idyllic pool.

The Living Reef, Daydream Island’s free-form coral lagoon, now

offers guests the chance to get up close and personal with marine

life on a guided snorkel with Daydream Island’s marine biologists.

A new underwater observatory also allows guests to view four

metres below the water’s surface to watch the marine life in action.

QT Hotel set for

Adelaide in 2021

QT Hotels will make its first foray into South Australia,

with the opening of QT Adelaide in 2021.

Part of a new $180 million mixed-use development,

the hotel will include 200 rooms and significant

conference and event facilities.

Event Hospitality & Entertainment CEO Jane

Hastings described the hotel as a “transformative

project for the city of Adelaide”.

Construction is likely to commence by the end of 2019.

Hyatt returns to Queensland

Hyatt has announced plans for its first ever Brisbane hotel, with Hyatt Place

Brisbane South City Square set to open in 2023.

The 170-room will be part of the $700 million South City Square precinct

in Woolloongabba and will feature a rooftop pool and bar.

This also marks Hyatt’s return to Queensland, since Hyatt Regency

Sanctuary Cove was rebranded to InterContinental in 2012 and Hyatt Regency

Coolum was sold in 2011.

8 Spice May 2019

Eichardt’s, Queenstown


Everyone can draw inspiration from New Zealand’s stunning natural beauty. Add to that a variety

of exhilarating activities, world class accommodation and venues and you have an unforgettable

conference destination. Inspiration is right on your doorstep.

Book your next conference in New Zealand.



The gift

of light

SolarBuddy is taking the events industry by

storm, with a CSR program that is gaining

momentum across Australia and the world.

Brittney Levinson spoke to SolarBuddy CEO

and founder Simon Doble about the program

and why it is loved by corporate groups.

Each night, we turn off our light and

go to sleep. In the morning, we flick

the switch back on and light appears.

To us, light is an everyday essential that

most of us take for granted, but for others,

it’s a luxury they will never have.

It was 2011 when Simon Doble learnt

about the hundreds of millions of people all

over the world who live in energy poverty.

“I learnt that families were escaping war

and famine to be protected by the UN and

placed in refugee camps, but they were

still burning kerosene lamps inside their

humanitarian tents resulting in injury, ill

health and death,” he says.

Shocked by the issue and the lack of

awareness around it, Doble set out to do

something about it. The first step was

buying a humanitarian tent.

“I set it up in my backyard on the

Sunshine Coast in Queensland and lived

in it until I designed a solution to mitigate

the devastating impact of energy poverty

within refugee camps,” he says.

The result was a renewable energypowered

light that became a standard

in refugee camps across the world. But

through finding one solution, Doble soon

realised the enormity of energy poverty,

and set about providing solar lights for

children, families and communities.

In May 2016,

Doble launched

SolarBuddy to

educate people

in the workplace, at

conferences and schools

all over the world about energy poverty.

The program sees participants build a

SolarBuddy solar-powered light, which

includes connecting the wires, attaching

the waterproof exterior and turning it on

for the first time. Participants then write a

letter to their SolarBuddy recipient, which

Doble says is a rewarding, emotional

investment for delegates.

“We encourage every participant to

communicate with their new buddy and

tell them what the gift of light means to

them, what they’ve learnt and how they

hope it empowers their future,” he says.

The key to SolarBuddy’s success as an

engaging CSR initiative is how tangible

the donation is, says Doble.

“We talk about the issue in a unique

manner, highlighting the different

cornerstones of what energy poverty

creates, which are health, economic,

education and environmental

implications,” he says. “We lay down the

grounding of what it is like for a family to

live in energy poverty, how that creates

a perpetual cycle of poverty and how a

solution like a basic solar light can lift them

out of energy poverty which ultimately lifts

them out of poverty in general.”

SolarBuddy is also unique as each

donation can be tracked and participants

have a connection to the light’s recipient.

“In this modern age, people need to feel

and understand their donation and follow

it,” says Doble. “[The SolarBuddy light] is

so tangible; in a matter of days or weeks,

it is in a child’s hands and benefiting them

instantly. That’s hugely powerful in this

social media-driven age.”

As for the response from the

industry, the results speak

for themselves. Since 2016,

SolarBuddy has engaged with

more than 50 corporations, which

has led to approximately 84,500

solar lights being donated to

children all over the world, including

in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor-

Leste, Cambodia, India, South Africa,

Tanzania and The Dominican Republic.

According to SolarBuddy, children

who use the solar lights spend less time

collecting firewood for cooking and

heating and spend more time attending

class, studying and completing homework.

SolarBuddy aims to provide light for

and empower the futures of six million

children by 2030. “Our longer term plans

also revolve around scaling this into a

permanent global initiative within the

MICE space,” says Doble.

The team at SolarBuddy is extremely

passionate and their point of difference is

clear. This is not just a simple donation, it

not only provides a tangible solution to a

global issue, it also helps educate the rest

of the world.

“Essentially, we’re providing bedside

lanterns and safe, non-toxic study areas

for children who’ve never had that before,”

says Doble.

“I have my own children who have the

luxury of turning on their bedside lamp, so

we want to create that environment for as

many children in the world as possible.” n

10 Spice May 2019

Dart River, Queenstown


One of the most important ingredients of any successful conference is having fun, like jetboating

up the Dart River at 70kmh. New Zealand offers a huge variety of exhilarating activities set in

stunning natural landscapes all within easy reach of world class accommodation and venues.

Inspiration is right on your doorstep.

Book your next conference in New Zealand.


Cover story

Spice Magazine

sits down with ICC

Sydney’s food and

beverage team to

explore the latest

menu collection,


developments and

focus on its people.



ABOVE: Pepe Saya


Hiramasa kingfish,

sea urchin, grains

and soft herbs

Since its opening in late 2016, International

Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has

led the way with healthy, energy-enhancing

menus driven by the Feeding Your Performance

philosophy. With a goal to remain leaders in the

food and beverage space, the centre has evolved to

meet the needs of today’s delegates, whose desire

for a balanced lifestyle is stronger than ever.

Balanced approach

Balance might not be the first word that comes to

mind when thinking of conference food, but ICC

Sydney is changing that mindset with its latest

approach to food and beverage.

“Health, wellbeing and sustainability are at the

forefront of everyone’s mind – whether you’re an

event organiser or delegate,” says director of culinary

services Lynell Peck.

ICC Sydney’s 2019 menu collection sees the

enhancement of probiotics, fermented products

and other gut-enhancing ingredients – think black

garlic, miso, tempeh and kimchi. Afternoon treats

have been rebooted, with healthier options available

such as smoothies, vegetable crudité platters and

seasonal fresh fruits including organic, pickedfrom-the-tree


“We still have sweet treats available, but we’re

offering delegates more choice,” says executive

chef Tony Panetta. “If they would like that bit of

naughtiness they can always have that, but it comes

back to a balanced approach.”

The same goes for ICC Sydney’s beverage menus,

which offer myriad options, whether you’re drinking

alcohol or not. Beverage operations and cellar

manager William Wilson says activations such as

spritz bars are a popular choice for events as they

create an impact, even without the alcohol.

“People see the bar team interacting and mixing

drinks using non-alcoholic spirits like Seedlip and it

becomes a real experience,” he says.

Kombucha is another popular alternative to

alcohol, which Wilson pairs with dessert for an

unexpected finish.

“Instead of bringing out the dessert wine, out

comes kombucha as the after-lunch drink,” he says.

“It has a sweetness that matches with any dessert

but also a refreshing acidity which leaves a beautiful

taste in the mouth.”

Local and international connections

ICC Sydney’s relationship with local suppliers is

something the centre is known for and something

Panetta is truly passionate about.

“I’m currently in conversation with a smallgoods

producer and it’s not just to cover the ham on

sandwiches, we’re looking to develop an ICC Sydney

product with them as well,” he says. “It’s all about

bespoke, customised produce – you can’t always get

that from big producers.”

ICC Sydney’s beverage and wine collection menu

also showcases local producers, having launched

with 80 per cent New South Wales wines on the list.

12 Spice May 2019

“Health, wellbeing

and sustainability

are at the forefront of

everyone’s mind…”

– Lynell Peck

In a little under three years, that has grown to 90 per

cent, which Wilson says is a testament to the quality

of the local offering.

“The NSW wine industry is just getting stronger

and stronger, and there are enough great suppliers

for us to have the confidence to say each of those

wines deserves a place on the list,” he says.

While the centre’s local focus grows, so too does

its attention to international menus. New to the

2019 menu collection are Indian and Jain menus,

created by chef de cuisine Rakesh Pillai. Jain is

the most spiritually motivated diet on the Indian

subcontinent and follows a vegetarian philosophy

with the exclusion of eggs and root vegetables.

“The international approach has

happened organically because many of

our clients travel from overseas,” says

Panetta. “We are the International

Convention Centre so we need to

make sure we focus on that.”

In order to be as authentic as

possible, ICC Sydney looks to its kitchen

team, who each bring areas of speciality

from their own traditions and background.

“In this day and age it’s all about

connection and honouring your heritage,”

says Panetta. “This food that Rakesh and junior

ABOVE: Highlights

from ICC Sydney’s

producer’s lunch

BELOW: Blackberry

curd, kombu mousse,

meringue, vanilla,

pear and chocolate

sous chef Manoj Kumar have created, they have a

connection to it and that’s why we like to draw on

those nationalities that we have.”


ICC Sydney continues to innovate its processes

in the kitchen and front of house. Currently, the

technology team is developing an app to provide

greater clarity and confidence around allergens and

medical dietary requirements.

“With the app, the team can enter the menu item

in and it will pull all the allergens in that dish,” says

Peck. “It will give them real-time information that is

100 per cent accurate.”

Once complete, the app will help streamline the

centre’s approach to medical dietary requirements

and allergens, which will, in turn, give delegates

more confidence in their food and beverage choices.

People first

Another major focus for ICC Sydney in 2019 is on

its people. A number of development programs are

available to team members, including opportunities

to attend specialised industry events, spend time

with suppliers or donate their time to an ICC Sydney

partner charity such as OzHarvest, Stand Tall or Variety.

The venue continues to support the mental health

and wellbeing of its team members by monitoring

work hours, enabling team members to work from

home and making time for training.

“It’s easy to say we’re an employer of choice, but

you really have to walk the talk such as consistently

rostering the same two days off so the team get a

break and their contribution is respected

and acknowledged,” says Peck.

At the heart of ICC Sydney’s

food and beverage approach

is a passionate team,

who are committed to

providing delegates

the best possible

environment for

success. Through

its Feeding Your

Performance menus,

innovative thinking

and focus on the people

behind the food, ICC Sydney

continues to lead the way. n

www.spicenews.com.au 13

HOT 100


The results are in. Here are the top

hotels, resorts and venues in 2019,

as voted by our readers.

Emirates One&Only

Wolgan Valley

Best business hotel


Melbourne, VIC | @melbournecentralhotels


Sydney, NSW | @rydgessydneyairport


Sydney, NSW | @pieronesydney


Melbourne, VIC | @crownhotels

Novotel Melbourne Central


Brisbane, QLD | @stamfordplazabrisbane

Best boutique hotel


Brisbane, QLD | @ovolohotels


Sydney, NSW | @theoldclare


Melbourne, VIC | @adelphi_hotel


Sydney, NSW | @spicerspottspoint


Mornington Peninsula, VIC | @jackalopehotels

Jackalope Hotel

Best convention centre hotel


Melbourne, VIC | @novotelsouthwharf


Brisbane, QLD | @rydgessouthbank


Melbourne, VIC | @panpacificmelbourne


Perth, WA | @parmeliahilton


Sydney, NSW | @hyattregencysydney

Rydges South Bank Brisbane

Best serviced apartment hotel


Brisbane, QLD | @oaks_hotels


Sydney, NSW | @frasersuitessydney


Sydney, NSW | @meritonsuites


Canberra, ACT | @burburyhotel


North Fremantle, WA | @pier21fremantle

Burbury Hotel & Apartments

www.spicenews.com.au 15

Best regional hotel


Leura, NSW | @fairmontresortleura


Torquay, VIC | @racvtorquayresort


Terrigal, NSW | @crowneplazaterrigalpacific

Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific


Daylesford, VIC | @lakehousedaylesford


Geraldton, WA | @thegeraldapartment

Best MICE hotel in New Zealand


Auckland, New Zealand | @hiltonhotels


Auckland, New Zealand | @stamfordplazaauckland


Wellington, New Zealand | @rydgeshotels

QT Wellington


Wellington, New Zealand | @qtwellingtonpics


Queenstown, New Zealand |


Best resort in Australia


Wolgan Valley, NSW | @wolganv


Port Douglas, QLD | @sheratongrandportdouglas


Torquay, VIC | @racvtorquayresort


Hamilton Island, QLD |




The Vines, WA | @vinesresort

Best lodge in Australia


Canberra, ACT | @jamalalodge


Coles Bay, TAS | @freycinetlodge


Lord Howe Island, NSW | @capellalodge


Yallingup, WA | @cape_lodge

Freycinet Lodge


Kimberley, WA | @elquestro

16 Spice May 2019

HOT 100

RACV Torquay Resort

Chuan Spa, The Langham, Melbourne

Best golf hotel

Best hotel spa


Hunter Valley, NSW | @oaks_hotels


Fingal, VIC | @moonahlinks


Torquay, VIC | @racvtorquayresort


Hunter Valley, NSW | @chateau_elan


Sanctuary Cove, QLD | @interconsanc


Sydney, NSW | @spaq__


Brisbane, QLD | @w_brisbane


Perth, WA | @bodhijspa


Torquay, VIC | @onesparacv


Melbourne, VIC | @chuanspamelbourne




Access the wellness benefits of

nature in the spectacular World

Heritage-listed Blue Mountains

National Park.

Come up for Air


Image: Gary P Hayes Photography


FROM $199



For more information or to make a booking

Call: (02) 4785 0099 or

Email: conference@fairmontresort.com.au

www.spicenews.com.au 17

HOT 100

La Porte Space

Hyatt Regency Sydney

WET Deck, W Brisbane

Butler Lane

Best hotel restaurant

Best hotel bar


Sydney, NSW | @silvestersrestaurantandbar


Brisbane, QLD | @threeblueducks


Terrigal, NSW | @crowneplazaterrigalpacific


Sydney, NSW | @modekitchenandbar


Melbourne, VIC | @grandhyattmelbourne

Best venue for a gala dinner


Sydney, NSW | @zephyrbarsyd


Brisbane, QLD | @w_brisbane


Perth, WA | @crownhotels


Adelaide, SA | @hennessy_rooftop_bar


Melbourne, VIC | @sofitelmelbourneoncollins

Best venue for a product launch


Brisbane, QLD | @brisbanecityhall


Sydney, NSW | @hyattregencysydney


Sydney, NSW | @merivale


Brisbane, QLD | @victoriapark


Melbourne, VIC | @crownhotels


Sydney, NSW | @thecalyxexperience


Melbourne, VIC | @peterrowlandau


Sydney, NSW | @laporte_space


Sydney, NSW | @haciendasydney


Brisbane, QLD | @thegreekclub

18 Spice May 2019


hotel at the



JW Marriott Hotel Macau

Best MICE hotel in the Asia Pacific region (outside AUS & NZ)


Bangkok, Thailand | @avanibangkok


Natadola, Fiji | @interconfiji


Cotai Strip, Macau | @jwmarriottmacau


Singapore | @grandcopthornewaterfront

• Complimentary

shuttle transfers

to/from Domestic


• Variety of bars and


• 9 flexible event


• Rooftop bar with

spectacular views


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | @shangrilakl

International Convention Centre Sydney

Convention centre with the best in-house catering


Adelaide, SA | @adelaidecc


Sydney, NSW | @iccsyd


Brisbane, QLD | @bcec_brisbane


Melbourne, VIC | @mcec


Perth, WA | @pcec

Enquire today by emailing


or calling +61 2 9313 2500


8 Arrivals Court,

Sydney International Airport,

NSW, 2020

www.spicenews.com.au 19

HOT 100

Best small venue (1- 50 pax)

The Glasshouse Eatery

Customs House Brisbane

Best mid-sized venue (51-150 pax)


Sydney, NSW | @ourgoldenage


Melbourne, VIC | @glasshousemelb


Sydney, NSW | @chinchin


Brisbane, QLD | @ariabrisbane


Perth, WA | @statebuildings


Sydney, NSW | @nas_au


Brisbane, QLD | @customshousebne


Sydney, NSW | @12micron


Sydney, NSW | @doltonehouse


Melbourne, VIC | @gardenstatehotel

National Gallery of Australia

Howard Smith Wharves

Best large venue (151- 500 pax)

Best mega venue (501- 5000+)


Sydney, NSW | @thevenuealexandria


Melbourne, VIC | @myermuralhall


Sydney, NSW | @events_by_atc


Melbourne, VIC | @showtimeeventgroup


Canberra, ACT | @nationalgalleryaus


Sydney, NSW | @sea.museum


Gold Coast, QLD | @gccec


Perth, WA | @optusstadium


Brisbane, QLD | @howardsmithwharves


Melbourne, VIC | @marvelstadium.au

20 Spice May 2019

Boutique Event Spaces


Large Indoor Event Spaces



Outdoor Spaces


Large-scale catering

Dessert grazing

station at MCEC

So long boring buffets with queues as far as the eye can

see – conferences and events are reinventing the wheel with

creative, interactive food experiences that are both visually

appealing and packed with flavour. Brittney Levinson quizzes

four executive chefs from event venues from across Australia

about the latest trends in large-scale catering and the

challenges that come with feeding the masses.



In today’s Masterchef age, delegates are more

interested in and educated about food and

beverage than ever before. As a result, chefs are

required to keep abreast of the latest trends and

continually update their offering to meet guest

expectations. Gone are the days of uninspired

buffets, and in comes a wave of interactive food

stations, fresh-from-the-farm produce and

customisable menus.

Here, Peter Haycroft, executive chef at Melbourne

Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC); David

Pugh, executive chef at Brisbane Convention &

Exhibition Centre (BCEC); David Martin, executive

chef at RACV Healesville Country Club in Victoria

and Gavin Berrecloth, executive chef at Luna Park

Sydney share insights into how food and beverage is

evolving to meet the needs of modern delegates.

“It’s a great way to interact and get the chefs out

the front so they can answer questions and deliver

more customer service to our clients,” says Haycroft.

Delegates also want the ability to customise their

meals, which has led to more build-your-own food

stations at conferences and exhibitions. From taco

bars and salad stations to dessert grazing platters,

this style of catering is an effective way to give

delegates complete freedom and customisability in

their meals.

The dietary revolution

Ask most chefs and they’ll tell you dietary

requirements are not a fad, they’re here to stay

and they’re growing fast. With large volumes of

delegates, comes large numbers of both medical

allergies and dietary requirements, which come in

1. Bao from MCEC’s

Eat Stations

2. BCEC executive

chef David Pugh

3. Luna Park executive

chef Gavin Berrecloth

4. MCEC executive

chef Peter Haycroft


5. RACV Healesville

Country Club executive

chef David Martin

Goodbye boring buffets

With delegates’ expectations higher than ever, chefs

are tasked with reinventing traditional catering

styles to provide new, memorable food and beverage

experiences. As an alternative to a standard buffet

offering, MCEC recently launched an interactive

new catering format, dubbed Eat Stations. Inspired

by the bustling street food stalls of Asia, the concept

combines food and technology to create a lively,

sensory experience on the show floor.

“We have to come up with new, creative ways

to deliver large-volume events where delegates

are here for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea,

which is very unique to convention centres,” says

Peter Haycroft.

“We see buffets as a little bit old fashion, so we

were looking for something new and interactive that

really stands out.”

MCEC’s Eat Stations range from Hawker-style

dumpling bars and Bloody Mary cocktail gardens

to a raining charcuterie station where cured meats

hang from the ceiling and “literally fall onto your

plate”. The stations feature customisable digital

signage, colours and lighting to create maximum

impact. Chefs are also on hand to interact with

guests and answer questions about the food.



4 5

www.spicenews.com.au 23




many different forms. At BCEC, a dedicated dietary

kitchen was implemented in 2017, to ensure all

dietaries were catered to with extreme care.

“I used to laugh at places that would look at

dietaries as a problem,” says David Pugh.

“It’s not actually a problem, it’s a way of eating

and it’s the future. You have to learn how to deal

with the future and that’s exactly what we did – we

took it head on.”

BCEC caters to events where up to 30 per cent of

delegates have dietary requirements, which range

from vegetarian, vegan and lactose intolerant to

allergies and religious diet restrictions.

Such a diverse range of requirements means the

potential for error is high if adequate procedures

aren’t in place. To reduce the risk of error, BCEC

double checks every guest’s dietary requirement at

banquet functions, whether it’s a room of four or

4000 people. The centre also invested in specially

designed plates with a coloured rim underneath

which corresponds with certain dietary requirements

and allergens.

At RACV Healesville Country Club, David Martin

categorises dietary requests into three types:

allergies, intolerances and lifestyle choices, which

he refers to as AILs. In an effort to reduce confusion

and complexity around AILs, Martin developed the

6. Seasonal vegetables


7. Dessert tasting plate

at Luna Park Sydney

8. MCEC’s charcuterie

Eat station

9. Rocky road Eat Station

10. Vibrant desserts on

the menu at Luna

Park Sydney

11. Seafood dish at

Luna Park Sydney


mymenu concept, which offers a separate menu for

guests with dietaries to ensure they feel comfortable

and confident in their food choices.

“They don’t have to scroll the menu and ask a lot

of questions to the waitstaff; it’s all simplified and

listed in mymenu,” he says.

While mymenu is predominately used in the

venue’s dining outlets, it has also helped streamline

the dietary processes for conference and events.

“Because we’ve embraced the mymenu concept,

it’s a lot easier for us to provide for our conferencing

guests because we’ve already got the produce and

knowledge available to us,” says Martin.

A firm believer that dietaries are here to

stay, Martin says establishments that embrace

it are more likely to succeed in today’s changing

culinary landscape.

“The balancing act is to give your mainstream

diners a wonderful experience, as you normally

would, while giving your AIL guests an equal

experience,” he says. “If you can do that, that’s the

holy grail.”

24 Spice May 2019

Large-scale catering




One of the biggest challenges for food and

beverage teams is managing the logistical

challenges that come with large-scale venues. At

Luna Park Sydney, multiple kitchens are located

throughout the park, which Gavin Berrecloth says

can be a hindrance if they’re not utilised well.

Where chefs previously worked in one kitchen and

transported food around the venue, Berrecloth is

now looking to maximise the kitchen facilities for a

more effective approach.

“I’d rather be using all those spaces day to day and

build a big network of chefs around the whole park,”

he says. “Rather than having 30 people in a kitchen

that was built for 20 people, spread them out and

give them a more pleasurable day and a bit of fun.”

Giving chefs the opportunity to work across

different kitchens also helps them become more

efficient in their work, says Berrecloth.

“Chefs are really good at making themselves work

harder and not smarter,” he says.

“When they’re being inefficient it’s very easy to

add another five or 10 hours on to a week. My next

big task is to get them to look at how they plan their

days and being clever and efficient with their time.”




Smarter event organisers have realised

that nowhere does events quite like the

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Breakfast, lunch, gala dinner or anything

in between, you’ll enjoy world-class cuisine

from award-winning chefs.

Book your next event with the best

in the business.

bcec.com.au 07 3308 3063

Large-scale catering


MCEC’s Eat Stations were designed with large

numbers in mind, to help reduce the queues and

congestion that often comes with feeding the masses.

“If you’ve got an event with 2500 [people] to feed,

it’s as much about logistics and flow as it is about

making sure the food is right,” says Haycroft.

Having multiple food stations operating at once is

a great way to reduce wait times and keep delegates

happy while they queue for their meals.

“If you know there is going to be bottlenecks, you

need to supply another food item close by where

people can still eat and be happy and work through

the menu,” says Haycroft.

Celebrating local produce

Something all four chefs have in common is their

passion for celebrating local, seasonal produce.

Business events are a prime opportunity for RACV

Healesville Country Club to highlight local Yarra

Valley produce.

12. Healthy bowls from

RACV’s mymenu

13. Nutritional focus



“First and foremost it’s about utilising as much

regional produce and suppliers as we possibly can,

whilst maintaining a consistent product,” says Martin.

At BCEC, the menus are guided by Pugh’s Edible

Queensland philosophy, which favours the produce

of the season from local suppliers. This approach

stemmed from more clients asking questions around

the provenance of their food.

“Queensland, especially through the winter

months, is the food bowl of Australia,” says Pugh. “If it

hasn’t done the miles it means it’s going to be fresher.”

MCEC’s 100 Mile Lunch menu sources its major

ingredients from local farms and markets within a

100-mile radius of the centre.

“By supporting local food producers we aim

to reduce our environmental impact by leaving a

lighter carbon footprint, as well as championing

the incredible produce we have right here in

Melbourne,” says Haycroft.

Berrecloth agrees, saying it’s all about using good

quality, local produce and letting it speak for itself.

“Let the quality and the love of the food from

the suppliers come through,” he says. “Rather than

overwork the food, [we] keep it really simple.”

Locally sourced produce, sensory dining

experiences and dietary-friendly options continue

to drive the menus at conference venues across the

nation, leaving a lasting impact on delegates long

after the event is over. n

Sydney’s iconic Luna Park Venues is an award

winning dining and entertainment precinct ready to

cater your next event.

Our internationally trained Executive Chef and his

team cater for 50 to 10,000 guests. With a focus

on sourcing local and seasonal ingredients, they can

provide exceptional menus to suit all events.

Experience the magic of Luna Park Venues.

+612 9033 7540 | sales@lunaparksydney.com | www.lunaparkvenues.com




As Trippas White Group’s ambassador chef,

Karen Martini is tasked with creating

the menus for Sydney Opera House

venues, including the new Yallamundi

Rooms. Here, the renowned Australian

chef shares her thoughts on current food

trends and why great produce is the

foundation for every great meal.

What does your role as

ambassador chef involve?


have the wonderful opportunity to create bold,

delicious and inspiring modern Australian menus

to be showcased mainly in the new Yallamundi

Rooms. My work in designing these menus involves

collaboration with Trippas White Group’s executive

chefs Kasper Christensen and George Diamond to

execute and train the new and enthusiastic Trippas

White Group kitchen team to carry out my vision

and menu philosophy in this beautiful space.

What is your food philosophy and

how is this reflected in your menus?

My core philosophy is championing great Australian

produce. My heritage and passion is also reflected in

my menus which are flavoursome, bright, bold and

uncomplicated dishes with good technique applied.

What are the biggest trends

influencing your menus right now?

I am channelling the healthy approach and appetite

for enjoying seasonal food right now, especially

vegetables, in all their shapes and forms. Given

the rich history of the location my menus will be

enjoyed, I’m also tapping into indigenous flavours

that compliment other everyday ingredients.

In terms of event menus, what is the key

to ensuring the highest quality when

dealing with such large volumes?

Above all, it starts with sourcing great produce,

then good cooking technique is applied in the

preparation so that when we come to plating up for

large events, it’s easier to deliver a well-presented,

natural dish with intense flavours, quickly. Hence

why my menus are simple in presentation but

complex in preparation.

Heading into winter, what

ingredients are you looking

forward to working with?

This time of year can be so rewarding for a foodie.

I’m looking forward to autumn and winter at their

best. Chestnuts, wild mushrooms and ceps, parsnips

and all our Brassica family is at their best too,

including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and

cabbages. n

Karen Martini and

dishes from her

latest menu. Image

credit: Daniel Boud

www.spicenews.com.au 27

On the


From plant-based meals to

non-alcoholic spirits, you

can expect to see more

of these on the menu at

events and conferences.


2 3

1. Banksia-glazed root

vegetables at Solander

Dining and Bar

2. Slow-roasted tomato

and capsicum terrine at

Solander Dining and Bar

3. Green pea risotto at

Solander Dining and Bar

Plant-based dining

Nearly 2.5 million Australians now follow

a diet that is all or mostly vegetarian,

representing 12.1 per cent of the

population, according to Roy Morgan. With

so many people adopting plant-based diets,

restaurants and food outlets are adding more

meat-free options to their menus.

Solander Dining and Bar at West Hotel Sydney

has joined the movement, offering diners an equal

weighting of meat and plant-based dishes. Executive

chef David Vandenabeele has seen first-hand the rise

in plant-based dining among consumers.

“As dietary restrictions are on the increase and

with an ever-increasing awareness of sustainable

eating, we see more and more guests leaning toward

vegan and vegetarian diets,” he says.

This change in attitude has allowed the

restaurant team to get creative with plant-based

dishes, says Vandenabeele.

“Traditionally, many diners opt for meat dishes

when dining out, as plant-based dishes have been

considered a side dish, or as a dish purely for

vegetarians,” he says.

“At Solander, we wanted to give plant-based dishes

equal respect and weighting on the menu alongside

their meatier counterparts. We offer the same care

and attention to detail in preparing the vegetable

ingredients as we do in preparing a fine cut of meat.”

At Solander, diners looking for vegetarian options

will enjoy the likes of green pea risotto, gingerspiced

heirloom carrots, braised globe artichokes

and banksia-glazed root vegetables. The dishes are

plated carefully, highlighting the different textures

and colours of the plants and vegetables.

“We’re challenging the traditional concept of

eating out and the type of meals offered, to open

up people’s palates and get them to explore a wider

range of plant ingredients,” says Vandenabeele.

Native ingredients

More and more chefs are celebrating Australia’s

diverse food offering and adding native ingredients

to their menus, from the likes of finger lime and

Davidson’s plum to lemon myrtle and wattleseed.

In 2019, Indigenous ingredients are being treated

less like a token menu addition and becoming more

commonplace as diners develop greater awareness

and interest in our native produce.

Native ingredients are prominent on the menu at

Solander, which diners have been embracing since

the venue opened in 2018.

28 Spice May 2019

Food & beverage

4. Lemon tart at Solander

Dining and Bar

5. Solander Dining and Bar



“One year on, we have enriched the Solander

menu to add further depth to the Australian native

culinary journey, incorporating produce and plant

life that is found in abundance in this country,”

says Vandenabeele.

The venue’s approach to native ingredients is

to incorporate them into the menu in new and

surprising ways. For example, Vandenabeele uses

banksia nectar, which is found in abundance in

Sydney and has a sweet flavour profile.

“At Solander, we soak the flowers, strain them

and then reduce down to a syrup,” he says. “The end

result is very similar to maple syrup in flavour and

we use it to sweeten our house-made pot bread.”

Sustainable menus

Sustainability continues to be front of mind

for consumers, and venues are taking note.

Restaurants and conference centres are replacing

plastic straws with paper ones, and unnecessary

plastic packaging is being removed altogether.

It’s also now expected that large-scale venues

have a sustainability program in place to ensure

surplus food items are repurposed and to limit the

amount of food waste generated by visitors.

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www.spicenews.com.au 29

Food & beverage

“We offer the same

care and attention to

detail in preparing the

vegetable ingredients

as we do in preparing a

fine cut of meat.”

– David Vandenabeele

Adelaide Convention Centre is among a number

of Australian venues with a strong sustainability

program in place. The centre recently took out the top

spot in the banquet and catering category at the 2018

Meetings and Events Australia National Awards, and

was commended for its commitment to sustainability.

Adelaide Convention Centre’s comprehensive

food redistribution program has seen more than

160,000 unused meals donated to OzHarvest and

Foodbank to help those in need. The centre also has

a strong local food policy, sourcing 97 per cent of its

produce from local, sustainable environments. This

commitment to local suppliers not only showcases

the region’s culinary offering, but reduces the venue’s

food miles and overall environmental impact.

No alcohol

While Australians are known to love a good drink,

there’s no denying the nation is becoming more

health conscious. The latest DrinkWise statistics

show in 2017, 20 per cent of Australians abstained

from alcohol, up from 11 per cent the decade prior.

Non-alcoholic beverage options are now more

important than ever, to cater for those who opt

against the booze at events. But orange juice and

soft drink just won’t cut it – discerning drinkers are

after more than a sugary alternative.




6. Seedlip is changing

the way we drink

7. Seedlip Garden Sour

8. Seedlip Grove

9. Seedlip Garden Booch

With this movement, a new range of non-alcohol

spirits has emerged, such as UK-based company

Seedlip. Seedlip’s range of three non-alcoholic spirits

can be found in noteworthy restaurants and bars

across the country, such as Bennelong, Hubert, Quay

and Aria, as well as in retail stores like Dan Murphy’s

and David Jones. Founder Ben Branson says Seedlip

was developed in response to a global movement.

“Seedlip is for those people who are not drinking for

whatever reason – from those who can’t: pregnancy,

medication, the designated driver, and those who

aren’t: having a night or week off, at lunch, an early

start the next day, to those who just don’t,” he says.

Seedlip is made by sourcing high quality

ingredients, some from Branson’s own family farm,

which are macerated, distilled twice in a copper pot,

filtered and blended. Branson describes the end

product as a “really adult option” that is best served

with tonic or as the base for a non-alcoholic cocktail.

While many establishments have been quick to adapt

to the non-alcoholic movement, Branson says there is

still a way to go before the entire industry is on board.

“As a society, we need to become more aware of

changing attitudes and event organisers and venues

will need to adapt to become more inclusive for

those who choose not to drink alcohol,” he says.

“There are sophisticated options out there and

people are loving the freedom of choice and the option

to enjoy an adult alternative to alcohol, without being

lumped with the kids options of juice and soft drinks.” n


30 Spice May 2019


Peter Rowland

goes national

Melbourne caterer Peter Rowland has

announced plans to expand its operations

nationally, heralding a new era for the

57-year-old company. Here, Brittney Levinson

speaks to CEO Emma Yee for all the details

about the company’s growth plans.

Q: What has your journey with Peter Rowland looked like?

A: I started with Peter Rowland almost 10 years ago. I was general manager,

operations, so I had a large portfolio within my division and that kept growing.

I ended up on the executive team within about four years and I was one of the

first women on the executive team, so that was pretty exciting. Then I became

the acting CEO and then the CEO in 2017. I’ve always been one for wanting

more, so I quite happily took on more responsibility so I could see all different

parts of the business.

Q: How has the brand evolved since the

investment by Capital Alliance in 2017?

A: Investment from Capital Alliance and [its founder and CEO] Mohan Du

has allowed us to refinance and restructure the business to become the most

diverse hospitality company in Australia with divisions across private catering

and events, commercial catering, major events, venue catering, retail and

e-commerce. Peter Rowland has been nourishing Melbourne for 57 years and

our chairman Mr Peter Rowland created a business that set a benchmark for

contemporary catering in the second half of the twentieth century. Our intention

is to create and set the benchmark for the hospitality business of the future. We

have the heritage, expertise, resources and importantly, the energy to do that.

Q: Which states are you looking to bring Peter

Rowland to as part of the expansion?

A: We are launching first in Sydney, where we have acquired a catering company

that has the kitchen and the ready-to-go workforce. I am envisioning it’ll

probably take us a little bit of time to settle in, as we like to do things right.

We will make further announcements as we roll out our strategy across

the east coast and ultimately the west coast of Australia. For us it’s all about

surprising everybody and doing things differently.

Peter Rowland

venue Butler Lane

Q: Where do you see the brand

positioning itself in Sydney?

A: Our strategy is for diversification and scale. We

intend to replicate our successful business model in

Sydney and roll out the full Peter Rowland portfolio

of catering and events, bespoke commercial catering,

major events and venue catering and we are excited

about expanding our e-commerce offer.

Peter Rowland has been operating in the corporate

sector in Sydney and Canberra for several years so

we have an existing workforce and market insight.

Q: What areas of the food and

beverage industry are you most

passionate about in 2019?

A: As a group, we believe the world is changing

and so is the way we eat, so for all our menus we

look at our suppliers, the food miles, where it’s

coming from and how it’s grown. The Kitchen,

our partnership with Woolworths, in Double Bay,

Sydney is the perfect example of this – it’s about

whole foods and clean eating.

The other thing we are passionate about, and I am

really passionate about, is hospitality as an industry

that offers exciting and substantial careers for young

people. I think hospitality is starting to be looked at

as a career and not just a transient market segment.

We spend a lot of time talking to the TAFEs and

we get a lot of the students straight out of William

Angliss – I was a William Angliss student. We

have apprentices and we like to nurture them and

watch them grow. We have a number of employees

that have done their apprenticeships with Peter

Rowland and are still here and over 57 years we

have launched the careers of many of Australia’s

leading chefs and hospitality professionals. We, as a

business, are quite passionate about that. n

www.spicenews.com.au 31





A Palm Springs-inspired oasis, right

in the heart of Brisbane’s trendiest

street; welcome to The Calile.

By Brittney Levinson.


1. Private dining space

2. Lobby Bar

3. Conference and

event space

Lifestyle hotels are making waves across the

country, offering stylish, resort-style stays

with all the practicalities of your typical

business hotel. Brisbane newcomer The Calile is

the prime example of this, positioning itself as an

urban resort, complete with an Insta-worthy pool,

fine-dining restaurant, plus expertly designed and

styled rooms and suites.

The Calile takes up prime real estate on James

Street, which is arguably the chicest strip in

Fortitude Valley and perhaps the entire city. In

between high fashion boutiques and trendy

restaurants, an unassuming driveway leads you into

the hotel’s entrance. Inside is an incredibly stylish

lobby, with marble accents and blush pink hues

that carry through the rest of the property. Here

you’ll also find the Lobby Bar, serving up a la carte

breakfast, share-style lunch and dinner, plus a wellcurated

cocktail list.

Head up to level two to find the picture-perfect

pool deck that takes this property from stylish hotel

to urban resort. Richards and Spence, the Brisbanebased

design team behind The Calile, took inspiration

from other hot-weather cities such as Miami, Palm

Springs, Rio De Janeiro and Mexico City, which is

recognisable in this part of the property.

Pastel green lounges and private cabanas line the

pool, which on a Sunday is filled with hotel guests.

Also on level two is The Calile’s signature Greek

34 Spice May 2019

Hot spot



4. The pool deck

at The Calile


5. Conference and

event space

6. Deluxe suite

restaurant, Hellenika, which offers a sophisticated

dining experience within the restaurant as well as

casual poolside dining.

The Calile offers 175 rooms including nine suites

and two premier suites, each with a variety of

outlooks. If you’re after the full Calile experience, opt

for a poolside room, or for a luxury stay, the Calile

and Ada Suites are the way to go. The rooms have

been expertly designed, with a mix of timber, cork

and marble making them a design-lover’s dream.

Despite its aesthetic appeal, The Calile makes no

compromise on practicality, with motorised blackout

blinds, dedicated living areas and smart TVs to

appeal to the most discerning business traveller.

Extra touches like custom linen robes, locally

sourced mini bar items and Nespresso machines

certainly don’t go unnoticed either.

Guests can also enjoy additional facilities such as

an onsite spa, a fitness centre with personal trainers

and daily group classes, and The Library, which

offers a quiet space for working.

Conferences and events

Event organisers have several spaces to choose from

for meetings and corporate functions. The grand

ballroom caters to cocktail events of up to 500 guests

and can be divided into four separate rooms.

The space opens out on to an outdoor terrace

ideal for pre-function drinks by the pool. The level

two amphitheatre is ideal for smaller cocktail events

of up to 100 guests and offers planners a blank

canvas to create the perfect event setting.

Two private rooms are also on offer, which can be

utilised individually or combined for seated dinners

of up 24 guests. The event spaces offer fully integrated

AV and presentation facilities, while complimentary

Wi-Fi is also available throughout the hotel.

Every aspect of The Calile is considered, from the

on-trend colour palette and design elements, to the

food and beverage offering and event spaces. Whether

it’s for business or leisure, or a bit of both, The Calile

leaves a lasting impression on those who visit. n


Book an event valued at $5,000+ and you’ll receive a

Garmin Vivomore HR Sport Smart Watch * (RRP $299)

plus a healthy break option for your guests.


Perth Scarborough


Terms and conditions apply. Only available at Rendezvous

Hotel Perth Scarborough and Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne.



www.spicenews.com.au 35

Check in

to paradise

Drawing your delegates away from the city for a

conference or meeting can be a challenge, but when the

destination is somewhere as idyllic as Mon Komo Hotel, it

shouldn’t be too hard a task. By Brittney Levinson.

Above: Aerial view

of Mon Komo Hotel

Middle: Mon Komo

Hotel by night

Bottom: Conference

spaces with

ocean views

Some might know it as the home of the Bee Gees, but Redcliffe is today

making a name for itself as a prime destination for corporate events. The

seaside village is located 35 minutes north of Brisbane’s CBD, and offers

groups a quintessential Queensland experience with its laid-back vibe and

friendly locals.

Located in the heart of Redcliffe, Mon Komo Hotel is a fully inclusive

conference and event destination, offering event spaces, accommodation and a

restaurant and bar. Inspired by Caribbean resorts, Mon Komo Hotel is a breath of

fresh air for conference organisers and their delegates.


Mon Komo Hotel Functions & Events Centre is a versatile event destination with

an ideal location by the water. The venue can cater to up to 300 delegates and is

well-suited to host conferences, dinners, workshops, retreats or exhibitions.

The main event space, Caribbean Islands Room, is located on the first floor of

the hotel and enjoys an abundance of natural light and views of the ocean. The

space can be divided into three rooms and is equipped with black-out blinds and

AV facilities. The centre also features two break-out rooms and its own function

foyer and bar.


Mon Komo Hotel’s on-site restaurant and bar has recently been transformed

to offer guests a modern dining destination. Cabana Bar + Kitchen + Garden

embodies the tropical location with lush greenery, refreshing cocktails and a

seasonal menu highlighting local produce.

36 Spice May 2019

Hot hotel

Clockwise from top left:

Ocean-view rooms on offer

Long-table lunch at Cabana

Bar + Kitchen + Garden

Seasonal produce on the menu

Grazing platters at Cabana

Bar + Kitchen + Garden

A favourite among locals and hotel guests, Cabana Bar + Kitchen + Garden is

also a popular spot for corporate lunches and events. A number of spaces can be

hired for groups, including an outdoor terrace to soak up the Queensland sun.

For delegates who want to continue networking as the sun goes down, Cabana

comes to life at night with live entertainment.


Mon Komo makes conferencing a breeze with 4.5-star accommodation available

on site. Operated by Oaks Hotels and Resorts, the property offers a mix of hotel

rooms and self-contained apartments, many with spectacular ocean views over

Moreton Bay. Guest facilities include a swimming pool and sun deck, undercover

parking and a gym.


Take some time out to explore the expansive Redcliffe coastline, which is lined

with boardwalks and bicycle paths. Along the precinct is an array of cafés,

restaurants, art galleries and retail shops for those looking to add a touch of

leisure to their trip.

Redcliffe’s seaside location offers plenty of activities for corporate groups to

enjoy, including whale watching, jetskiing, kayaking, skydiving and even yoga

by the jetty. Or take your delegates offshore to explore the picturesque Moreton

Island and the many experiences on offer, from sand dunes and World War relics

to wreck dive and snorkel sites. n


the region

Get to know the local area

with these Redcliffe hot spots

Bee Gees Way

Named after the band that originated in

Redcliffe, Bee Gees Way celebrates the history

of the three brothers and their rise to stardom.

At the very end of the walkway, a bronze

statue of the band in their youth stands tall. It’s

a must-do for all die-hard Bee Gees fans.

Redcliffe Museum

On Anzac Avenue, you’ll find Redcliffe’s very

own museum, which explores the evolution of

Redcliffe Peninsula’s character and identity,

and its significance in Australian history. Free

to enter, Redcliffe Museum features plenty of

collections to enjoy.

Redcliffe Jetty Markets

Hosted along Redcliffe Parade every Sunday,

the Redcliffe Jetty Markets are a one-stop

shop with a huge variety of stalls on offer. Enjoy

delicious foods, fresh produce, arts and crafts,

and interesting gifts while enjoying live music

by the water.

www.spicenews.com.au 37

Hot spot

With its industrial-style

event spaces, impressive

line-up of restaurants and

unbeatable coffee culture,

Melbourne continues to

be the capital of cool.



Butler Lane

One of the latest venues to open under the Peter Rowland

portfolio, Butler Lane is the ultimate setting for a corporate event,

dinner or product launch to impress. The venue boasts an industrial

look that provides a blank canvas for event organisers to get

creative or is just as effective with minimal styling. The open-plan

warehouse leads out to a quaint courtyard with exposed brick

and a living green wall as the backdrop. Butler Lane is suitable for

banquets of up to 180 guests and cocktail events for up to 300.


Naked In The Sky rooftop

bar in Fitzroy, Melbourne

The Langham, Melbourne

A leader in luxury accommodation and events, The Langham,

Melbourne continues to strive for the highest level of customer

service. To further improve the guest experience, the hotel has

introduced a number of food and beverage updates, including

a floating breakfast option at the pool deck and a new coffee

service on the ground level. The event facilities on the podium

level and top floor of the hotel are also getting a minor refresh,

with new custom-made chinaware, furniture and lighting.

38 Spice May 2019


Melbourne & Olympic Parks

Demolition works have begun at Melbourne & Olympic Parks

(M&OP) to make way for its brand new conference and

events centre. The centre marks the final phase of M&OP’s

$972 million redevelopment and includes a 2000-square-metre

ballroom, 800-square-metre pre-function area and 250-seat

auditorium. The centre is scheduled for completion by late

2021, with event bookings now open for 2022.



Need some help navigating Melbourne’s

cool, yet complex, coffee culture? Throw this

lingo around and you’ll be a local in no time.

Cortado – similar to a latte, but less foamy and less quantity,

usually served in a small glass. It consists of espresso mixed

with a roughly equal amount of warm milk.

Magic – steamed milk poured over a double ristretto and

served in a small cup. Most baristas worth their weight in coffee

beans will happily serve one up.

Bulletproof coffee (or butter coffee) – coffee, with butter.

Yep, that’s no joke. This newcomer to the coffee scene is

most likely found in cafés specialising in health food.

Mister Munro

Located at The Victoria Hotel, Mister Munro is an elegant new

space on Little Collins Street. The venue pays tribute to its former

life as a ‘dry hotel’ in the late 19th Century, where no alcohol

was served. Making up for lost time, the restaurant and bar now

serves up an extensive cocktail selection, plus a healthy dose

of beer and wine. Two private dining spaces are also on offer,

perfect for intimate corporate events.


The Timber Yard

The Timber Yard is a newcomer to Melbourne’s event scene

but it’s certainly making an impact. The repurposed venue

features 6000 square metres of indoor and outdoor space, and

pays tribute to its former life with a sleek, industrial look. The truly

flexible venue is suitable for conferences, cocktail events or

seated lunches and dinners of up to 1500 people.

www.spicenews.com.au 39





As the former White House director of

events, Laura Schwartz has a captivating

story to tell. Brittney Levinson sat down

with the author and professional speaker

at The Business of Events in Sydney to hear

all about her fascinating career.

“At the direction of the President and Mrs Clinton,

we took on a really great evolution from old to new,”

she recalls.

“We spent a year honouring the past, looking

at the present and imagining the future. It wasn’t

just a one off; it was a year of building towards a


The momentous occasion was celebrated in a

number of ways, including a dinner at the White

House with the likes of Rosa Parks, Will Smith and

Bono on the guest list.

“This was not just a dinner, we called it the

Creators Dinner and it was a terrific nod to the past

and future,” says Schwartz.

She says while the White House is a magnificent

building with an amazing history attached to it, it is

still a venue.

“Many of those people had been to the White

House before, so it’s about taking this venue and

making it look different,” says Schwartz.

“Instead of eating in just the State Dining Room,

you ate in the Red Room, the Blue Room, the Green

Room and the State Dining Room. We enclosed the

Rose Garden into a tent and Chelsea [Clinton] hosted

a dinner in there. It was a wonderful way to transform

the White House as venue, both with the guests that

were invited and the atmosphere that was created.”

Later, guests attended a concert and celebration at

The Lincoln Memorial, before returning to the White

House for another event. “Basically, it was 24 hours

of events and people working together which was

really extraordinary,” says Schwartz.

On a more personal note, Schwartz also recalls

special White House tours with The Children’s

Miracle Network, a charity organisation for seriously

ill children, as one of her most memorable events.


Laura Schwartz was 19 years old when she

began volunteering at the White House during

Bill Clinton’s presidency. From starting out

answering phones, Schwartz used her engaging

personality and a hint of persuasion to become

Clinton’s Midwest Press Secretary, then director of

television and, ultimately, director of events.

In this role, Schwartz oversaw a number of

high-profile events and faced some equally public

challenges. From this she has learnt invaluable

lessons, which she now shares with audiences

through her book, Eat, Drink and Succeed, and in her

current role as a professional MC and speaker.

Most memorable events

When asked about her most memorable events at

the White House, Schwartz says two events come

to mind. The first, because of the “sheer enormity”

of it, was America’s millennium celebration on

December 31, 1999.


40 Spice May 2019

“President Clinton would clear anything on his

schedule in order to stop by the White House tour

and surprise the families,” she says.

“Being part of creating that experience was

truly more relevant and impactful for myself than

anything else. There was never press for it, but you

could see how creating an experience like that tour

and time with the President, they weren’t thinking

about the next doctor’s appointment or what lies

ahead the next day.”

This experience really ingrained in Schwartz the

power of creating experiences through events.

“We always talk about ROI – return on investment

– that’s how a company determines if they’re going

to continue a program, a fund or a project,” she says.

“But if you look instead at the ROE – return on

experience – it’s a completely different measurement.

“When you keep an ROE in focus that’s when

you give the most and learn the most. For an annual

event, the person that comes back is wonderful, but

the person that comes back with three more friends

– that’s when you’ve truly achieved.”

Scandal and the power of events

During her time at the White House, Schwartz also

encountered some challenging times, including the

notorious Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“It was tough during the Monica Lewinsky period,

I’ll totally acknowledge that,” she says.

When media attention was high, one of the

strategies to stay on message was events.

“President Clinton was very instructive that

he had a job to do and to stick to that no matter

what other noise was happening,” says Schwartz.

“It was through events that we communicated

that message.”

1. Laura Schwartz

speaking at The

Business of Events

2019. Credit:

Camera Creations

2. Schwartz briefing

President Clinton

prior to filming a

cameo for the movie

A Child’s Wish

3. Schwartz prepping

for a State Dinner at

the White House

4. Schwartz briefing

the First Lady

Hillary Clinton

5. Schwartz with her

book Eat, Drink and

Succeed. Credit:

Camera Creations


“President Clinton was very

instructive that he had a job to do

and to stick to that no matter what

other noise was happening.”

– Laura Schwartz



Schwartz admits she had to think creatively

in order to get that message across. She recalls

receiving a “heads up” that a member of the press

was going to ask a disruptive question.

“You never try to curtail the press, but did I bring

in a brass quintet to play after the president was

done with his remarks so that nothing could be

heard? Yes, I did that,” she says.

“I made sure that the President didn’t take long

walks past the press and I flipped the stage to

accommodate that.”

Among the lessons Schwartz learnt from her time

as director of events at the White House, was the

power of events in communicating a message.

She says when you focus on the key objectives

and the guest experience, an event can take on

much more than “amazing lighting, fabulous video

and great sound”.

“You give it a whole life that really transcends

the ballroom you’re in or the festival grounds or the

boardroom, and it will live on far beyond those walls

and for a very long time.” n

www.spicenews.com.au 41

Industry news

Q&A: Sara Hoke, Los Angeles

Tourism & Convention Board

Get Global is back again in 2019 to

showcase leading international

products and suppliers to the

business events industry, including

returning exhibitor Los Angeles Tourism

& Convention Board (LATCB).

Ahead of the all the action, Spice spoke

to Sara Hoke, destination sales director,

international MICE at LATCB, about the

latest developments in LA and what we

can expect to see from them at Get Global.

Q: LA achieved its goal of

50 million visitors two years

earlier than planned – what

contributed to this?

A: We knew reaching our 50 million goal

would create a powerful driver of economic

prosperity, support 550,000 jobs and

generate $35 billion in economic impact

countywide. What began as a goal for the

local tourism industry, Ernest Wooden, LA

Tourism president and CEO, galvanised

the LA business community and city

leadership to evolve ‘50 million visitors by

2020’ into a civic rallying cry.

We can attribute several reasons for

achieving 50 million visitors including: LA

Tourism’s accelerated marketing and sales

efforts in key international markets such as

Australia, China and the UK; an increase

in international airlift at LAX Airport; new

hotel inventory and LA’s growing reputation

as a hot culinary and cultural destination.

Q: How much business

is LA currently attracting

from Australia and how do

you plan to grow this?

A: Australia is our second largest overseas

market following China, with 426,000

visitors in 2018, up 2 per cent year-onyear.

In terms of business events, LA can

accommodate large-scale congresses to

more intimate meetings and incentive

groups, and our destination represents

most sectors. We see Australian groups

experiencing incentive programs with

bespoke, energetic and cultural itineraries.

We will continue to exhibit at major

Australian MICE events like Get Global

to make sure planners know what we

can offer. We have ‘boots on the ground’

in both Sydney and Melbourne and will

maintain representation in Australia via

Clockwise Consulting, to share updates

with the market.

We work closely with our Australian

partners including hotels, venues, DMCs

and airlines to develop promotional

opportunities and to provide our Aussie

buyers with the information most relevant

to them. We will be hosting a famil for

our key Australian buyers in November

2019 and budgeting for a sales mission to

Australia in 2020.

Q: What developments

will LA be showcasing at

Get Global this year?

A: We have a lot of exciting developments

in the pipeline that we will be showcasing

at Get Global this year, including Park

Hyatt at Oceanwide Plaza, which open this

year with 184 luxury rooms and suites, and

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and

“Australia is our

second largest

overseas market

following China, with

426,000 visitors in

2018, up 2 per cent


Sciences, which is launching a six-storey

movie museum with galleries, exhibition

spaces, movie theatres, educational areas

and special event spaces.

Other developments include The Rams

Stadium, slated to open from 2020, and

the expansion of Los Angeles Convention

Center to offer more than 1.2 million

square feet [or more than 111,000 square

metres] of event space by the end of 2021.

Q: Why should Australian

organisers consider LA

for their next event?

A: There are 72 direct flights from

Australia per week – there’s no need to

fly through, everyone should absolutely

make LA their main stop. Many Aussies

have visited the main attractions

in LA, but with so many revamped

neighbourhoods, including bespoke

hotels perfect for incentive groups, they

should come experience the ‘new LA’. I

often recommend the trendy venues in

Downtown LA, the new distilleries and

breweries in the Arts District and a tour

through Silver Lake.

Get Global will take place on Friday 26 July

2019 at ICC Sydney. To exhibit or to register

visit www.getglobal.com.au. n

Beachside hotels in LA

42 Spice May 2019


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