Some of Australia’s leading artists, winemakers, producers and food writers enjoyed an unconventional evening together at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre this week.
Designed to highlight the Centre’s passion for excellence – from its superb food and wine through to its extraordinary collection of Australian artwork – the event took place in the newly refurbished Convention Centre Parkside with views out over Sydney’s sparkling skyline and glittering harbour.
Seated in transparent chairs at tables illuminated with a mass of floating candles, more than 70 guests enjoyed a dinner featuring the best of Australia’s produce – from cardamom and star anise-spiced Macleay Valley duck breast on pickled gammon to Hereford beef tenderloin with butter-poached white asparagus and a rosemary fondant and horseradish mousseline.
The gourmet meal – prepared by the Centre’s Executive Chef Uwe Habermehl – was accompanied by a range of local New South Wales fine wines including Logan Hannah Rose from Orange and a 2007 Tyrrell’s Vat 9 Shiraz from the Hunter Valley, all selected by the venue’s Certified Sommelier William Wilson.
Throughout the evening guests moved to different tables to enjoy the company of a range of food, wine and art personalities. Meanwhile the Centre’s Culinary Ambassador, Lyndey Milan, interviewed attending food and wine industry leaders about their produce and the latest culinary trends, including winemakers Bruce Tyrrell and Peter Logan, Hereford Prime beef farmer Dan Morice and Sam Hayes of Mirrool Creek Lamb.
Renowned artists Colin Lanceley, Michael Johnson and John Firth-Smith gave an insight into their paintings, which form part of the collection of 27 impressive Australian works commissioned especially for the Centre, with Colin Lanceley commenting on the symbiotic relationship between artwork and architecture.
Architect Philip Cox, who designed the venue’s Exhibition Centre and whose firm Cox Richardson has overseen recent refurbishments throughout the Convention Centre, also spoke about the design of the waterfront building and its positioning in Australia’s largest city.
Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said the evening was designed to highlight the Centre’s unique setting and style and embrace its spirit of innovation and creativity.
“We wanted to remind people of our passion for excellence and surprise them with an evening that broke conventions, particularly for a convention centre,” Mr Van Amerongen said.
“No other venue in the world has what we have when you consider our vibrant Sydney setting, our beautiful art work and our world-class team, so we wanted to underline just how different we are.”