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Victoria's Top Chefs Shine for Starlight Fundraising Dinner at MCEC


13 September 2023


Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) proudly sponsored and hosted the Starlight Children’s Foundation Five Chefs Dinner on Thursday, raising enough funds to grant 25 life-changing Starlight Wishes.


Guests enjoyed a unique collaboration from some of Australia’s best chefs, while raising money to support Starlight’s mission to bring fun, joy and laughter to sick kids and their families.


An impressive $535,000 was raised, which will support Starlight’s delivery of hospital programs at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital.

The event featured a five-course degustation designed by leading Victorian chefs including Benjamin Cooper (Chin Chin), Guy Grossi (Grossi), Jacqui Challinor (Nomad) and Josep Espuga (pt Leo Estate).


Alejandro Saravia (Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters), who was inducted into MCEC’s Club Melbourne Ambassador program earlier this year also headlined the event, alongside MCEC’s Executive Chef Peter Haycroft.


MCEC donates over $100k in event space, food and beverage and marketing to the event each year. MCEC’s Chief Executive, Natalie O’Brien AM said the Starlight Five Chefs Dinner demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the local community.


“We’re thrilled to have hosted another successful event and raise such a significant amount of money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. MCEC is committed to supporting our local community and we are proud to have been able to contribute to such a worthy cause,” said Natalie O’Brien AM.


“The Starlight Five Chefs Dinner is a testament to the power of community and the impact that we can have when we come together for a common cause. Every single person involved in the event, from the team in the kitchen to the event delivery team, has made a significant contribution to raising life-changing funds for kids,” she said.


In a new twist this year, canapes were served from live cooking stations, allowing the five chefs to prepare, serve and engage with guests as they arrived. Canapes included kumara with puffed quinoa and hibiscus jam, beef tartare with confit egg yolk and mountain pepper, and potato spun prawn tail with native river mint mayo.


MCEC’s Executive Chef Peter Haycroft said the live cooking stations added a unique interactive element to the event.


“The Starlight Five Chefs Dinner is one of the highlights in the calendar for our kitchen team. It allows us to showcase our creativity and culinary skills and work with some of Melbourne’s best chefs,” Chef Peter Haycroft said.


“We are proud to support such a worthy cause, knowing that our work makes a difference and raises money to bring joy to children who need it most,” he said.


Starlight CEO, Louise Baxter said she is truly thankful for an amazing 12 years of support from the dedicated and passionate MCEC team on behalf of the entire Starlight team.


“Our iconic Starlight Five Chefs Dinner is all about the theatre of fine food and wine and the MCEC team never fail to deliver,” Louise Baxter said. “MCEC is an amazing venue and our wonderful chefs, who generously donate their time, are always blown away by the facilities.


“The MCEC team is always one hundred percent committed to this event. Everyone is simply wonderful in helping us share the life changing impact of Starlight with our guests. We sincerely thank Chief Executive Natalie O’Brien AM, the entire MCEC team, our Sponsors and all involved.” she said.


The Starlight Five Chefs Dinner is just one of the many charitable events that MCEC hosts each year, making a positive impact on the local community.



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