Issue 85 – May – 2019
Hotels, Resorts & Venues
FOOD & BEVERAGE
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
2 JULY 2019 | VERANDAH BAR, SYDNEY
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
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
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
Food for thought
National Sales Team
Katherine Ross, Charlotte Marshall
Head of Circulation
ph 1800 651 422
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Spice Magazine Team
Group sales and
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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
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!
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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.
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4 Spice May 2019
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”
most clicked spicenews.com.au
1 reveals new
Infinity Convention Centre
is set to open in Sydney’s
Green Square in the
fourth quarter of 2019.
2 Coast’s new
restaurant and bar
John Singleton’s latest
NSW venue, The Bon
Pavilion, includes a bar,
eatery and event spaces.
3 South Bank
unveils rooftop bar
People are flocking to
Brisbane’s new rooftop
venue to take in the
impressive river views.
4 welcomes new
Green Moustache caters
for up to 300 guests and
features rooftop views and
a private dining space.
5 venues set to
open at QVB
Trippas White Group has
opened two late-night
venues, Reign and
Esquire, in Sydney’s QVB.
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.
A great way to bring garden
party vibes to any event, festoon
lighting is a hit year round.
Crispy critters are hopping onto menus across
the country, think crickets, ants and worms. Are
you game enough to try them?
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.
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).
Clueless wait staff
Your wait staff should be
able to tell customers
what food they’re serving
and what’s in it.
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
ONE YEAR ON
UITP 2021 Global Public
$4.6m economic value
World Sport and
$6.7m economic value
145th IATA Slot
$3.2m economic value
13th Congress of
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
“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
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
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.
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,
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,”
“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.
sits down with ICC
Sydney’s food and
beverage team to
explore the latest
focus on its people.
ABOVE: Pepe Saya
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.
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
“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
are at the forefront of
– 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
from ICC Sydney’s
curd, kombu mousse,
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.
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
the best possible
its Feeding Your
and focus on the people
behind the food, ICC Sydney
continues to lead the way. n
HOTELS • RESORTS • VENUES
The results are in. Here are the top
hotels, resorts and venues in 2019,
as voted by our readers.
Best business hotel
NOVOTEL MELBOURNE CENTRAL
Melbourne, VIC | @melbournecentralhotels
RYDGES SYDNEY AIRPORT
Sydney, NSW | @rydgessydneyairport
PIER ONE SYDNEY HARBOUR
Sydney, NSW | @pieronesydney
CROWN METROPOL MELBOURNE
Melbourne, VIC | @crownhotels
Novotel Melbourne Central
STAMFORD PLAZA BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @stamfordplazabrisbane
Best boutique hotel
Brisbane, QLD | @ovolohotels
THE OLD CLARE HOTEL
Sydney, NSW | @theoldclare
Melbourne, VIC | @adelphi_hotel
SPICERS POTTS POINT
Sydney, NSW | @spicerspottspoint
Mornington Peninsula, VIC | @jackalopehotels
Best convention centre hotel
NOVOTEL MELBOURNE SOUTH WHARF
Melbourne, VIC | @novotelsouthwharf
RYDGES SOUTH BANK BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @rydgessouthbank
PAN PACIFIC MELBOURNE
Melbourne, VIC | @panpacificmelbourne
PARMELIA HILTON PERTH
Perth, WA | @parmeliahilton
HYATT REGENCY SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @hyattregencysydney
Rydges South Bank Brisbane
Best serviced apartment hotel
OAKS CHARLOTTE TOWERS
Brisbane, QLD | @oaks_hotels
FRASER SUITES SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @frasersuitessydney
MERITON SUITES NORTH SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @meritonsuites
BURBURY HOTEL & APARTMENTS
Canberra, ACT | @burburyhotel
PIER 21 APARTMENT HOTEL
North Fremantle, WA | @pier21fremantle
Burbury Hotel & Apartments
Best regional hotel
FAIRMONT RESORT & SPA BLUE MOUNTAINS
Leura, NSW | @fairmontresortleura
RACV TORQUAY RESORT
Torquay, VIC | @racvtorquayresort
CROWNE PLAZA TERRIGAL PACIFIC
Terrigal, NSW | @crowneplazaterrigalpacific
Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific
LAKE HOUSE DAYLESFORD
Daylesford, VIC | @lakehousedaylesford
THE GERALD APARTMENT HOTEL
Geraldton, WA | @thegeraldapartment
Best MICE hotel in New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand | @hiltonhotels
STAMFORD PLAZA AUCKLAND
Auckland, New Zealand | @stamfordplazaauckland
Wellington, New Zealand | @rydgeshotels
Wellington, New Zealand | @qtwellingtonpics
THE REES HOTEL
Queenstown, New Zealand |
Best resort in Australia
EMIRATES ONE&ONLY WOLGAN VALLEY
Wolgan Valley, NSW | @wolganv
SHERATON GRAND MIRAGE RESORT, PORT DOUGLAS
Port Douglas, QLD | @sheratongrandportdouglas
RACV TORQUAY RESORT
Torquay, VIC | @racvtorquayresort
Hamilton Island, QLD |
NOVOTEL VINES RESORT SWAN VALLEY
The Vines, WA | @vinesresort
Best lodge in Australia
JAMALA WILDLIFE LODGE
Canberra, ACT | @jamalalodge
Coles Bay, TAS | @freycinetlodge
Lord Howe Island, NSW | @capellalodge
Yallingup, WA | @cape_lodge
EL QUESTRO HOMESTEAD
Kimberley, WA | @elquestro
16 Spice May 2019
RACV Torquay Resort
Chuan Spa, The Langham, Melbourne
Best golf hotel
Best hotel spa
OAKS CYPRESS LAKES RESORT
Hunter Valley, NSW | @oaks_hotels
PEPPERS MOONAH LINKS RESORT
Fingal, VIC | @moonahlinks
RACV TORQUAY RESORT
Torquay, VIC | @racvtorquayresort
Hunter Valley, NSW | @chateau_elan
INTERCONTINENTAL SANCTUARY COVE RESORT
Sanctuary Cove, QLD | @interconsanc
SPAQ, QT SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @spaq__
AWAY SPA, W BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @w_brisbane
BODHI J, THE WESTIN PERTH
Perth, WA | @bodhijspa
ONE SPA, RACV TORQUAY RESORT
Torquay, VIC | @onesparacv
CHUAN SPA, THE LANGHAM, MELBOURNE
Melbourne, VIC | @chuanspamelbourne
Access the wellness benefits of
nature in the spectacular World
Heritage-listed Blue Mountains
Come up for Air
INSPIRED MEETINGS AND EVENTS IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, NSW
Image: Gary P Hayes Photography
For more information or to make a booking
Call: (02) 4785 0099 or
La Porte Space
Hyatt Regency Sydney
WET Deck, W Brisbane
Best hotel restaurant
Best hotel bar
SILVESTER’S RESTAURANT, SYDNEY HARBOUR MARRIOTT
Sydney, NSW | @silvestersrestaurantandbar
THREE BLUE DUCKS, W BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @threeblueducks
SEASALT, CROWNE PLAZA TERRIGAL PACIFIC
Terrigal, NSW | @crowneplazaterrigalpacific
MODE KITCHEN & BAR, FOUR SEASONS SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @modekitchenandbar
COLLINS KITCHEN, GRAND HYATT MELBOURNE
Melbourne, VIC | @grandhyattmelbourne
Best venue for a gala dinner
ZEPHYR, HYATT REGENCY SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @zephyrbarsyd
WET DECK, W BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @w_brisbane
TWR, CROWN TOWERS PERTH
Perth, WA | @crownhotels
HENNESSY, MAYFAIR ADELAIDE
Adelaide, SA | @hennessy_rooftop_bar
ATRIUM BAR ON 35, SOFITEL MELBOURNE
Melbourne, VIC | @sofitelmelbourneoncollins
Best venue for a product launch
BRISBANE CITY HALL
Brisbane, QLD | @brisbanecityhall
HYATT REGENCY SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @hyattregencysydney
Sydney, NSW | @merivale
Brisbane, QLD | @victoriapark
Melbourne, VIC | @crownhotels
Sydney, NSW | @thecalyxexperience
Melbourne, VIC | @peterrowlandau
LA PORTE SPACE
Sydney, NSW | @laporte_space
Sydney, NSW | @haciendasydney
THE GREEK CLUB
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)
AVANI+ RIVERSIDE BANGKOK HOTEL
Bangkok, Thailand | @avanibangkok
INTERCONTINENTAL FIJI GOLF RESORT & SPA
Natadola, Fiji | @interconfiji
JW MARRIOTT HOTEL MACAU
Cotai Strip, Macau | @jwmarriottmacau
GRAND COPTHORNE WATERFRONT
Singapore | @grandcopthornewaterfront
• Variety of bars and
• 9 flexible event
• Rooftop bar with
SHANGRI-LA KUALA LUMPUR
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | @shangrilakl
International Convention Centre Sydney
Convention centre with the best in-house catering
ADELAIDE CONVENTION CENTRE
Adelaide, SA | @adelaidecc
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @iccsyd
BRISBANE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE
Brisbane, QLD | @bcec_brisbane
MELBOURNE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE
Melbourne, VIC | @mcec
PERTH CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE
Perth, WA | @pcec
Enquire today by emailing
or calling +61 2 9313 2500
8 Arrivals Court,
Sydney International Airport,
Best small venue (1- 50 pax)
The Glasshouse Eatery
Customs House Brisbane
Best mid-sized venue (51-150 pax)
GOLDEN AGE CINEMA AND BAR
Sydney, NSW | @ourgoldenage
THE GLASSHOUSE EATERY
Melbourne, VIC | @glasshousemelb
CHII TOWN, CHIN CHIN SYDNEY
Sydney, NSW | @chinchin
ARIA RESTAURANT BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @ariabrisbane
THE MARK, STATE BUILDINGS
Perth, WA | @statebuildings
CELL BLOCK THEATRE
Sydney, NSW | @nas_au
CUSTOMS HOUSE BRISBANE
Brisbane, QLD | @customshousebne
Sydney, NSW | @12micron
SOHO, JONES BAY WHARF
Sydney, NSW | @doltonehouse
ROSE GARDEN, GARDEN STATE HOTEL
Melbourne, VIC | @gardenstatehotel
National Gallery of Australia
Howard Smith Wharves
Best large venue (151- 500 pax)
Best mega venue (501- 5000+)
THE VENUE ALEXANDRIA
Sydney, NSW | @thevenuealexandria
Melbourne, VIC | @myermuralhall
ROYAL RANDWICK RACECOURSE
Sydney, NSW | @events_by_atc
STATE LIBRARY VICTORIA
Melbourne, VIC | @showtimeeventgroup
NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA
Canberra, ACT | @nationalgalleryaus
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
Sydney, NSW | @sea.museum
GOLD COAST CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE
Gold Coast, QLD | @gccec
Perth, WA | @optusstadium
HOWARD SMITH WHARVES
Brisbane, QLD | @howardsmithwharves
Melbourne, VIC | @marvelstadium.au
20 Spice May 2019
Boutique Event Spaces
Large Indoor Event Spaces
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
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
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
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
“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.
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
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
9. Rocky road Eat Station
10. Vibrant desserts on
the menu at Luna
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
“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
24 Spice May 2019
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
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
12. Healthy bowls from
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 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
Karen Martini and
dishes from her
latest menu. Image
credit: Daniel Boud
From plant-based meals to
non-alcoholic spirits, you
can expect to see more
of these on the menu at
events and conferences.
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
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.
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,”
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.”
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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Food & beverage
“We offer the same
care and attention to
detail in preparing the
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
4. The pool deck
at The Calile
5. Conference and
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
GO HEALTHY WITH RENDEZVOUS HOTELS
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.
Terms and conditions apply. Only available at Rendezvous
Hotel Perth Scarborough and Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
With its industrial-style
event spaces, impressive
line-up of restaurants and
unbeatable coffee culture,
Melbourne continues to
be the capital of cool.
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.
COFFEE CULTURE: EXPLAINED
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.
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.
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,”
“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
1. Laura Schwartz
speaking at The
Business of Events
2. Schwartz briefing
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
5. Schwartz with her
book Eat, Drink and
“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
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
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
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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