Catering Tips for Melbourne Cup Carnival

Renowned Melbourne catering company, Ed Dixon Food Design, provides us with some simple tips for entertaining this Spring Racing Carnival season.

With Spring in the air, it only means one thing - Spring Racing Carnival! Be it in Melbourne track-side with the ponies, or around the country celebrating at home with friends, it seems everyone gets involved with the race that stops a nation.

With so much to think about such as the frocks, heels, hats and champagne, it's easy to overlook the catering. Ed Dixon Food Design shares his six top tips for a delicious Melbourne Cup Carnival.

1. Fingers please
Finger food is the way to go for the races – either trackside or at home. With champagne in one hand, select food that can be easily eaten with that other free hand, ensuring it’s no more than a mouthful in size. We love picnic style entertaining for the races. Ensure your food isn’t too messy or sloppy to eat – you’d hate for dirty fingers to be rubbed off onto pretty frocks, or food spilling out of mouths and down dresses. Steer clear of foods that stain too – beetroot relish is a no go.

2. Keep it simple, it’s all about quality.
Race days for us are all about simple high quality produce that tastes delicious. A recipe you could easily make at home is Superior Gold Smoked Salmon Rosti. The key is to pick the highest quality ingredients available, such as Superior Gold smoked salmon.

3. Keep your cool
Keep the food in plastic containers in eskies.  Serve your food on smaller platters or timber boards so there are only a few things out at a time.  We do not recommend large platters of cheese, sushi or dips as they often melt and dry out on a long warm day.

4. Mix it up
Compliment food with a cocktail. A warm race day is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a jug of Pimms with some fresh strawberries, orange and cucumbers. The great thing about a cocktail is you can pre-mix it in a big ice tub which can be hidden under the bar in a shady place.

5. Help!
Good help is hard to find, but I think it’s worth finding. Having someone to help run the bar and hand around food means you get to enjoy your day. They could even drive your car home if it is down at the track, how handy! If you don’t know where to find good help, ask cousins, nieces, nephews, or even ask your colleagues if they know anyone interested in some extra money for a few hours work. If you’re trackside and looking for staff to assist at your site, any of the licensed caterers, including Ed Dixon Food Design, will be able to provide staff to serve their food.

6. Stress less, plan ahead.
Race days are fun but can be a long day. Avoid getting up at the crack of dawn to make the food – think about things you can serve fresh with little preparation. Again, smoked salmon is great on race days, as it can be served on its own requiring little fuss. One of our most popular race day food items is mini smoked salmon brioche rolls with lemon and dill crème fraiche, spinach and baby capers. These can be easily stored in a hamper box and served as is or on a black platter to make the food pop. Another great thing to do is purchase some of the food entirely. Perhaps consider making a few things yourself, and also purchasing a food hamper. There are a few companies including Ed Dixon Food Design who make food hampers specifically for race goers. These hampers don’t just need be enjoyed at the track as they are perfect for races entertaining at home too!

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