Very berry takes out gold at Fine Food Awards

MCEC house made ice-cream

MCEC house made ice-cream

Exciting news! We have been awarded five medals at the 2014 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (RMFFA), including a gold medal for our house made very berry sorbet.

Entering for a fourth year in a row, we were also awarded silver for our house made vanilla yoghurt and mandarin and passionfruit sorbet, and bronze for our chocolate caramel ice cream and berry fior di latte splice sorbet.

“These wins are a real credit to our talented team of chefs, especially with such tough competition from producers and suppliers across Australia,” said Tony Panetta, MCEC’s Executive Chef.

“The team continuously use their creativity to come up with new and exciting menu items for our customers using the best seasonal Victorian produce,” he added.

At MCEC we have the pleasure of working with some of the state’s best producers to create our house made products, including Green Eggs and Inglenook Dairy for our yoghurt, ice-cream and sorbets.

These premium fine food awards not only assist in showcasing the quality of products our kitchen team continue to deliver but also help to put Victorian produce on the global stage.

Conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the 2014 RMFFA’s received more than 1,113 entries from over 225 exhibitors across Australia, ranging from larger commercial brands to smaller farmers and producers.

Read more here.

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The ultimate chocolate winter-warmer

MCEC's housemade hot chocolate at the Convention Centre Cafe

MCEC’s housemade hot chocolate at the Convention Centre Cafe

Calling all chocolate lovers , this isn’t your run-of-the-mill  hot chocolate.

Our new 60 per cent cocoa hot chocolate is definitely not for the faint hearted, but if you’re looking for something that’s guaranteed to make your tastebuds explode and warm you up in the process, then look no further.

Made using premium Belgium chocolate sourced from our local supplier Creative Ingredients, this new hot chocolate blend has been developed by our in-house executive pastry chef Mike Belcher, alongside MCEC food and beverage team leader Chris Jackson.

Available at both on-site MCEC cafés in a regular or shot size, it’s the perfect option to get you going on a cold winter’s day. Plus, it costs no more than a regular coffee!

MCEC’s cafés also sell a variety of other food and beverage options made in-house using local Victorian produce, including pastries and biscuits, award-winning yoghurt, soups and salads to name a few.

Click here to find out more about our on-site cafes and their locations.

Premium belgium chcolate used to create MCEC's hot chocolate blend

The premium Belgium chcolate used to create MCEC’s 60 per cent cocoa hot chocolate blend

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It’s Bacon Week! Try MCEC’s new pork cutlet recipe

Lemon and maple cured pork cutlet, parsnip purée and brussel sprouts

Lemon and maple cured pork cutlet, parsnip purée and brussel sprouts

MCEC’s kitchen team have jumped on board the Australian Bacon Week 2014 celebrations and created a delicious pork cutlet recipe to share with you.

Bacon Week, established by Australian Pork, began in an effort to support the local pork industry and draw attention to the growing competition the industry faces from imported products.

MCEC work with two pork suppliers; Greenvale Farm from Willaura, western Victoria (in the beautiful Grampians region) and High Country Pork from northern Victoria.

Greenvale Farm in particular are known for their superior and sustainable grass-fed pork. Find out more about their products here or visit them at a number of local farmers’ markets, all listed on their website.

This pork cutlet recipe requires a little preparation and extra effort but the result will be worth it, we promise!

Lemon and maple cured pork cutlet, parsnip purée and brussel sprouts: 

Passionate about supporting local Victorian suppliers we encourage everyone to source recipe ingredients locally, wherever possible.

 Main ingredients: serves 4

4 x pork cutlets

200 gr pancetta

12 x brussel sprouts

50 gr black quinoa

Pork marinade:

2 x lemons – juice and zest

50 ml Maple syrup

100 ml vegetable oil

Pork cider jus:

½ kg pork bones

½ kg mirepoix

½ head garlic

1 x bunch sage

500 ml brown chicken stock

700ml apple cider

Parsnip puree:

½ kg parsnip

50 gr butter

1 x dash cream

¼ vanilla bean

Apple foam:

4 x granny smith apples

50 ml cream

Beetroot gel:

50g dried figs

100gr fresh beetroot

1 x dash sherry vinegar


Pork marinade

  • Mix maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice and oil together, pour over the pork cutlets and then allow to marinate overnight.

Pork cider jus

  • Roast pork bones in hot oven until golden (tip: use cider to deglaze trays)
  • Pan-fry mirepoix, garlic and sage in a heavy based pot until caramelized, then add bones and cider – cook until liquid is almost gone
  • Then add chicken stock, and bring to a simmer
  • Simmer for 2 – 4 hours or until liquid is reduced by 2/3 in amount – once reduced strain through a muslin cloth.

Parsnip purée

  • Peal parsnips, remove the woody centre and roughly chop. Coat with vegetable oil and roast on high until cooked and golden
  • In blender, purée roasted parsnips till smooth, adding butter and cream to loosen (consistency should be similar to thick custard)
  • Split vanilla bean and scrape contents into purée, then add salt and pepper to taste

Beetroot gel 

  • Boil figs for 45 minutes until very soft
  • While figs boil juice beetroots through a juicer
  • Next blend the boiled figs with a dash of the cooking liquid (should be the consistency of a very thick purée)
  • Add the fresh beetroot juice to loosen the mixture and adjust the seasoning with a dash of sherry vinegar to taste

Apple foam

  • Peal apples and cook whole in boiling water until they just begin to turn soft
  • Put softened apples through juicer and then chill liquid
  • Once chilled add cream to apple liquid
  • Put mix into co2 cream gun, add two nitris bulbs and shake vigorously (shake again before plating dish)

Brussel sprouts and pancetta

  • Halve brussel sprouts, make a small incision into base to assist cooking and remove two or three outer leaves from each.
  • Blanch the removed leaves quickly in salted boiling water then toss through butter
  • Blanch remaining sprouts in salted boiling water for 3 minutes or until al dente, then remove from water
  • Cut pancetta into 3 cm batons, 4 pcs per person, then pan-fry untill cooked – about 2 minutes
  • Add blanched sprouts to pan with pancetta and fry until caramelized/golden- about 1 minute

Black quinoa

  • Cook quinoa in boiling water for 45 minutes or until cooked – strain thoroughly

Plate dish

  • Sear pork cutlet in a pan on both sides till golden, then cook in a hot oven on 180 degree for 8 – 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 72 degrees.
  • Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes before serving
  • While pork cutlet rests add a spoonful of warmed parsnip puree to serving plate
  • Next add quinoa, brussel sprouts (halves and leaves) pancetta and pork cutlet
  • Finish by drizzling hot cider jus over pork and decorating with apple foam and beetroot gel.


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