The Experts

Organising a Melbourne Cup lunch

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The Melbourne Cup is an amazing event – it’s fun, it’s glamorous and the whole country gets involved.

The sense of party is infectious and it is apparent not only at the track but around the nation. I love the way everyone wants to dress up, put on a hat, have a few bets, sip champagne and embrace the spirit.

I have been both a guest and a caterer there. As a caterer, the work is really hard; you are building marquees, organising hire of simply everything (including the kitchen sink), developing a menu that’s stylish yet easy to prepare onsite and substantial enough to help soak up the alcohol. There are many challenges pulling these days together with the weather taking top billing here. Too hot and you run short of ice, too cold and windy then the client expects more hot food. Rain? Well, I can’t even begin to describe what that is like.

Yet the buzz kept me doing it year after year, seeing those amazing marquees we organised, the beautiful roses around Flemington, well-dressed people taking pride in their outfits and most importantly seeing everyone have such a wonderful day.

As a guest, it was lovely for once not to have to worry about the above.

Around the nation, people get into the spirit and have Melbourne Cup lunches, organise sweeps, warm up the telly, chill the champagne and dress up.

So this year, why don’t you host a lunch? Just remember keep it simple and stylish, see some suggestions below. And decorate with bunches of perfumed roses so you can capture the feel of Flemington.

For me, the best lunch would be a ‘buffet’ of:

I know the lemon tart was in last week’s menu but it’s so perfect for a lunch such as this and you can always cheat and buy one!

Or, try one of these chicken salads for a light and filling dish.

And, to end off the meal, bake something sweet and delicious.

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And, for the perfect accompaniment, check out this award-winning wine.

Published: Friday, October 29, 2010

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