Stepping up to the plate came naturally for Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) new executive chef Tony Panetta.
Since joining MCEC as sous chef in October 2010 he worked his way up to chef de cuisine after six months and took on acting executive chef in November 2011.
Panetta said: “I’m passionate about the farm to fork story we tell and I want our visitors, many who are new to Melbourne, to enjoy a true taste of Victoria at MCEC.
“I’m fortunate to work with an incredibly skilled team of chefs and together our focus is creating memorable food and wine experiences, regardless of size and scale, using the best local ingredients,” he said.
By regularly attending farmers markets to scout out the best seasonal produce and embracing an open door policy for local suppliers, Panetta has grown MCEC’s list of Victorian farmers, dairies and producers by 10 per cent over the last six months.
He applies a tailored approach to events, big and small, by attending almost 150 menu tastings a year and meeting face-to-face with MCEC’s customers to design their menus.
This personalised approach has won the confidence of some of Melbourne’s most celebrated chefs including Philippe Mouchel, Michael Lambie, Mark Best, Nicky Riemer and Darren Purchese who Tony has worked with to collaborate on menus and recreate their dishes for high profile events at MCEC.
MCEC’s chief executive Peter King said: “Tony’s experience, passion, creativity and use of local suppliers has really shown through and he is a huge asset to the kitchen team and our business.
“For most international visitors MCEC might be their first taste of Melbourne and Tony, along with the team, produces quality dishes that represent the venue and Melbourne globally as one of the culinary capitals of the world.”