There is nothing quite as powerful as the love of a particular sport in crossing cultural divides and uniting two countries in a state of mutual excitement. And there is nothing like a bit of cricket before dinner to achieve that exalted state.
The scene was set for an extraordinary event when Amway India held its finale to a week of celebration in Melbourne in December last year. Add to the mix a sensational concert by top “Powerhouse Entertainer” Mika Singh (flown in especially for the event from India), and for the venue none other than Australia’s premier sporting arena – The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – and you have a recipe for a perfect night of celebration.
Melbourne is known as the spiritual home of sport in Australia, and to demonstrate its amazing flexibility and adaptability, the revered MCG presented itself as the perfect venue to show due reverence to the apparent two main “religions” of India: cricket and Bollywood!
Come rain or shine
Over 4,000 delegates, though weary from several days of exploring the sights, sounds and tastes of Melbourne and the Victoria region, refused to allow a slight rainstorm to dampen their unbridled enthusiasm for the big event.
As the skies cleared, they erupted in typical Indian applause when 22 of their lucky members were selected to play a game of cricket on the hallowed pitch of the MCG. The game was umpired by none other than Australian cricket legend Adam Gilchrist (whose every umpiring decision was comically mimicked by a flock of white-coated umpires), which had the crowd cheering more than at any Test match.
As the match concluded and the (very questionable) Gangnam Style dancing by the winning team subsided, the faithful crowd again burst into thunderous applause and screams when one of their country’s top singers – Mika Singh – jumped on the stage, thumped out the songs and pumped up the dancing.
The foundations and rafters of the MCG shook as a whirl of brilliantly coloured saris swirled and twirled to his easily recognisable hit parade of number one songs. Clearly, the delegates loved every second of the expertly organised event.
One man from Mumbai was seen filming himself in front of the arena on his iPad. “This is an absolute dream come true. I’m actually at the MCG! I can’t believe it so I have to record the moment. I still can’t believe it,” he said to camera, before eagerly returning to the activity on the ground.
Challenges in logistics
Events such as the gala evening, which concluded the Amway India Leadership Seminar, are only a success due to days, weeks, months – even years – of planning.
In this case, there were some major logistical considerations. Organiser Peter Jones from Peter Jones Special Events was in charge of operations. “There was never any doubt that a game of cricket had to feature in the event in some form. Music and dancing also had to be included, and of course there is the meal. The night also absolutely, definitely had to include the ‘wham’ for which Amway events have become famous, leaving the participants in no doubt as to how much their achievements are appreciated. Another final element,” Jones continued, “was that it had to reflect the unique character of the host city, Melbourne.”
How do you feed 4,120 Amway delegates – all hungry to taste Melbourne’s interpretation of authentic Indian cuisine? Epicure is the catering partner of the MCG and although their brief was concise, the execution took more than nine months of planning. Working closely with the client, Epicure’s culinary expert, Denish Kumar, played a vital role in creating an extraordinary meal of authentic Indian cuisine.
Epicure’s food and beverage director, David Mercer, insisted that extensive planning and revision is the key to successfully executing a meal of such magnitude. “During the nine months of planning, we held several product tastings and workshops with the client. After modifications and amendments, the final menu was selected according to their specific requirements,” he said.
Every one of the 16 dining rooms, which ring the circumference of the arena, were employed for the single seating meal. As an exercise in logistics, the meal required unprecedented precision. As a result of the planning, a realistic budget, a team of talented operators and a willing host city, the Amway India Leadership Seminar left a lasting impression on 4,120 very proud, very happy and very motivated people.
EVENT Amway India Leadership Seminar Gala Finale
DATE December 2012
NUMBER OF DELEGATES 4,120
CITY Melbourne, Australia
VENUE Melbourne Cricket Ground
ORGANISER Peter Jones Special Events
CONTACT Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau
TEL +61 3 9693 3333