Dylan Sanding, a word on our 2024 Menu Collection

An iconic stadium demands an extraordinary menu collection. For 2024, MCG Events have proudly unveiled an impressive 425 menu items spanning 43 unique menus, meticulously crafted to reflect the team’s commitment to culture, sustainability, and showcasing the finest Victorian produce.

Executive Chef, Dylan Sanding opens up on how this impressive menu collection comes together, including cultural influences, and how the culinary team are collaborating directly with farmers to deliver a quality, sustainable approach.

Cultural background – Australia & Philippines

Menu highlight – Hainanese chicken on the Missy Mu by Shirley menu – it’s got such a great connection to family and food, such nostalgia.  This was Shirley’s mums’ favourite dish, and she would always cook it for her when she wasn’t well. And now it’s a dish that you can’t help but feel better when you serve it to a guest, you know it will brighten their day.

Fun Fact – Dylan started his career as an apprentice chef at none other than the . . . MCG!

A food philosophy of – ‘Victoria’s best, flavoured by Melbourne’.

MCG proudly upholds a food philosophy embodying the essence of Victoria’s finest, infused with the distinctive flavours of Melbourne. This approach entails showcasing exceptional local produce, complemented by a diverse array of culinary influences from our talented team.

“The menu creation process begins with a focus on sourcing ingredients from ‘Victoria’, aiming for proximity to the source. Despite our stature as a prominent venue serving over 5 million guests annually, we don’t believe in sourcing suppliers solely to meet the entirety of our menu demand. In our philosophy, ‘Victoria’s Best’ might be found in a small, local supplier offering a distinctive product tailored for one dish, on one menu. This approach has led us to curate a diverse range of offerings, allowing us to feature numerous unique suppliers and highlight what truly defines them as ‘Victoria’s Best’.”

 “I like to characterise this menu as the most authentic one yet. We’ve meticulously sought out and utilized top-quality produce so it can truly take center stage. The superior the product, the less manipulation it requires. We’ve allowed the inherent quality of the ingredients to shine through. This approach has evolved from extensive collaboration not only with suppliers but also directly with producers and farmers. Our menus are crafted with a deep understanding of the produce in its freshest and most genuine state.”

A team approach.

The MCG’s full-time culinary team comprises over 65 chefs, each bringing their own unique backgrounds, cultures, and culinary perspectives to the table. It’s this diversity that truly shines through in our menu offerings, with Dylan drawing on the collective expertise of the entire team to craft exceptional dishes.

“The MCG is famously known as ‘The People’s Ground’, and I like to think of our menus as the ‘people’s menus’. Each dish embodies a different member of our team, reflecting their unique culture, heritage, and passion. It’s this personal touch that infuses our dishes with exceptional quality and resonates with our guests”.

One of my favourite examples of this is an entrée dish of Smoked Altair Wagyu beef, green mango, chilli, crispy tendons & curry leaf emulsion by Sweta. It embodies her culture and background, is packed with flavour, and heroes the Victoria’s best grass fed beef – served in a way that is unexpected”.

The importance of Sustainability.

The MCG’s approach to sustainability extends far beyond waste, water, and energy conservation. Renowned as one of the most sustainable stadiums globally, we continuously push the boundaries. With this menu release, our focus extends beyond waste reduction; it also emphasizes enhancing quality simultaneously.

During our visits to local farms, one striking revelation was the significant amount of produce being rejected. It was disheartening to learn that some of Victoria’s finest carrots were discarded simply because they weren’t perfectly straight. However, we came to realize that the taste of a carrot remains unchanged, regardless of its shape. As a result, we’ve made a substantial impact by purchasing produce that would typically be discarded, thereby supporting our local farmers and reducing food waste“.

Farmers have been collaborating with us to supply products in reusable tubs, a sustainable initiative that aids in reducing the usage of plastic-glazed cardboard boxes. This proactive approach not only helps us minimize waste but also addresses the challenge of disposing of such materials responsibly. Our philosophy of sourcing Victoria’s Best underscores our commitment to utilizing local suppliers within a reasonable radius, minimizing unnecessary transportation. If we, as chefs, cannot easily drive to the farm ourselves, it’s likely unsustainable to expect fresh, high-quality produce to undertake that journey“.

“The MCG is famously known as ‘The People’s Ground’, and I like to think of our menus as the people’s menus. Each dish embodies a different member of our team.”