The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre staged one of its largest dinners on record this month, with more than 3200 participants in the Air New Zealand Golden Oldies Rugby Festival filling the venue to celebrate the end of their week-long event.
Held in two of the Centre’s exhibition halls spanning 10,000 square metres, the dinner was serviced by six satellite kitchens, with 36 chefs and 220 waitstaff in attendance.
Using more than 460 kgs of beef, 578 kgs of lamb and 1310 kgs of vegetables, the chefs created a gourmet three-course dinner featuring grilled beef tenderloin on caramelised red onion and olive hash, and braised lamb shanks with a smoked bacon and onion galette.
Themed with 80 giant illuminated inflatable stars and spheres, the dinner venue featured one of the largest ever dance areas created at the Centre, with delegates filling the 750 square metre dance floor as they enjoyed the sounds of five great cover bands throughout the evening.
Festivities continued well into the night at the Centre, which was also home to the event’s opening party a week earlier, attended by more than 3000 delegates.
Staged every two years, the Air New Zealand Golden Oldies Rugby Festival celebrates the global rugby fraternity, with 4500 rugby players aged 35 years and over from around the world playing in this year’s Festival’s games from September 26-October 3.
Festival Director Allan Forno said Sydney had been a big hit with attendees.
“Our delegates loved the city and its harbour and they also really appreciated the safety of the city, which is important,’ Mr Forno said.
Mr Forno said the Centre events had been very successful, from the calibre of the food through to the superb service and the management of the large number of guests.
Staging Dimensions Managing Director Mark Keegan, who produced the festival’s welcome party and gala awards dinner, also complimented the venue.
“We really enjoyed working with everyone at the Centre – from the event managers through to the food and beverage and security staff. Nothing was too much for them and they were incredibly professional.
“In the spirit of rugby, it was a big team effort and they were all sensational.”
Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said the Centre was proud to be selected as the venue for such a major event.
“Delivering a gourmet three-course dinner for 3200 people is not a simple task. It takes considerable planning, skill and style, so our team is to be congratulated,” Mr van Amerongen said.
The Golden Oldies gala dinner is one of a string of major events being held at the Centre in 2010-2011, including the 12,000-delegate Lions Convention in July 2010 and the 4000-delegate Asia Pacific Congress of Ophthalmology in March 2011.