Exquisite food is at the heart of everything we do. It’s what brings us together and helps Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) deliver extraordinary events. And that’s why our chefs must share the very same passion. Introducing our Executive Pastry Chef, Alessandro Bartesaghi.
Alessandro started his craft by completing an apprenticeship in Italy before travelling to France to learn traditional French desserts, croissants and breads. And now, after moving to Melbourne 11 years ago, he brings European patisserie to MCEC. Fusing traditional flavours with unconventional presentation, our pastry team delight guests time after time with delectable desserts, ice cream, pastry, and everything in between.
And Alessandro’s recognition goes beyond these walls: Having had a sweet tooth since he was little, our Executive Pastry Chef recently scooped the Valrhona C3 Chocolate Chef Competition semifinal and now represents Australia on the world stage.
So, how does he do it? Often made using seasonal and local produce, Alessandro’s sweet creations start with flavour and build out. “There's an opportunity with dessert to be very creative and think a little bit out of the box,” says Alessandro. Combining exceptional talent with unconventional ideas, Alessandro and his team of 20 pastry staff make our customers’ dream menus come to life. The first step is to sit down with the customer and design dishes based on their specific concepts or requests. Alessandro works out the flavour combination, then which elements to incorporate, and finally designs the look.
Alessandro’s role at MCEC is broad. He works with suppliers to get the best ingredients. He writes and develops all sweet menu items alongside his team to make it all come together. And he knows the particular importance of the divine dessert at the end of a delicious meal. “The great thing about dessert is that it's always a discussion at the end of a meal,” says Alessandro. “Food is always a talking point, and food is what brings people together – sharing the same experience... makes it memorable.”
From conference and exhibition to gala and cocktail events, Alessandro and his pastry team design and create menus for all kinds of events at MCEC. Oftentimes the menu will celebrate Melbourne: with vibrant, bold and diverse flavours that emulate the City’s distinct culture and character. But as much as flair and creativity are a vital component of our exceptional food, menu design and execution need to be meticulously planned.
“Being an Executive Pastry Chef at a place like MCEC - such a large-scale organisation –requires a lot of planning, a lot of training and precision... When we deal with a lot of people, nothing can be left to chance.” Therefore, Alessandro works closely with customers before their event to conceptually plan out their menu all the way down to the look and feel of the desserts. It is part of how MCEC brings people together through food, delivering an unconventional but exceptional experience every time.
MCEC is currently accepting bookings for 2023 and beyond so reach out to our friendly planning team today and start discovering the possibilities.