On Sunday February 9, the NGV lawn played host to a very special Melbourne picnic, as a stellar line-up of Broadsheet’s favourite bars, cafes and restaurants gathered to make and serve one-off dishes to raise funds for bushfire relief.
Hundreds of people lined up down St Kilda Road before the 5.30pm opening, eager to lay hands on an array of food and drink from some of Melbourne’s best chefs. The first 500 guests also received a free Broadsheet Bushfire Relief Twilight Picnic T-shirt courtesy of Bonds and Machine Screenprinters.
Around the garden, styled by Dann Event Hire, punters gorged on an array of plates, snacks and drinks. These included Dexter’s hot chicken buns and Shannon Martinez’s vegan wizardry, which saw her shifting more than 300 units of vegan nachos within the first hour alone. Brunswick’s Old Palm Liquor fired up the barbeque for its tender rockling dish, and there were boozy vegan pies courtesy of Pie Thief, hobz biz zejt (oil and bread) from Maha chef-owner Shane Delia, a summer salad via Embla chef-owner Dave Verheul and fancy cheese toasties from the folks behind Hector’s Deli and Sam and Ellie Studd. A number of hospo heavyweights did their bit by personally holding down the fort at their respective stations.
Sweet treats were a smash, including Vue de Monde’s bestselling chocolate cherry mousse-filled lamingtons, baking sorcery in the form of a "compost cookie" from Tonka pastry chef Kay-Lene Tan, gelato from Piccolina and more delectable goods from Baker Bleu, Baker D Chirico, Touchstone, Black Star Pastry, Cannoleria, All Are Welcome and All Day Donuts. Fine drinks came in the form of Negronis from The Everleigh, cocktails via Capitano, Asahi beers, Bombay Sapphire G&Ts, Capi soda and Yering Station wines.
As guests sprawled on the lawns past sundown, artist Rowena Martinich live-painted an enormous, vibrant canvas which is now up for online auction. (More info here.) On the tunes? Ace chefs Martinez and Attica’s Ben Shewry (the former betraying a penchant for ’00s nu-metal, the latter a series of ’80s classics with a touch of Oz punk rock), alongside Fascinator (aka Children Collide frontman Johnny Mackay) and DJ Adriana Lazaridis (PBS).
More than 2017 plates and bowls were saved from landfill thanks to Green My Plate, a sustainable service which aims to eliminate single-use food packaging from events by supplying sustainably made, light-weight plates and bowls, as well as wash stations and handy dishwashing staff.
More than $100,000 was raised on the day ($112,328) and will go directly to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund. The fund supports Red Cross emergency teams – trained staff and volunteers currently helping on the ground in bushfire-affected areas – as well as paying for its emergency grants program, which aims to help communities rebuild. It also contributes to the charity’s three-year bushfire recovery plan (read more on that here).
Broadsheet would like to thank major event partners Dann Event Hire, Restaurant Associates, NGV, Square, Eventbrite and Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. And of course thank you to everyone who came to the event – this donation would not have been possible without you.