The Victoria Racing Club has announced Curtis Stone Events as its new official Birdcage Enclosure Hospitality Partner, alongside existing culinary and hospitality organisations The Big Group and Food & Desire.
VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the club was pleased to partner with the Australian-born chef and his Melbourne-based events arm.
“Together, Curtis Stone Events, The Big Group and Food & Desire will transform the Birdcage Enclosure into a culinary and hospitality destination like no other,” Rosich said.
The VRC says celebrity chef Stone will bring his culinary expertise and creative flair to the Melbourne Cup Carnival with VRC members and guests able to exclusively experience Stone’s fine dining, Michelin-starred Los Angeles restaurant Gwen in the Birdcage Enclosure. The menu will showcase Victorian produce and premium beverages, with Gwen catering for up to 200 VRC Members and guests each day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“Curtis Stone’s Birdcage Enclosure involvement promises to create an unforgettable experience for racegoers including VRC Members and guests, and corporate partners,” Rosich said. “The collaboration brings together the best in culinary expertise and event management and introduces a fresh perspective on hospitality and guest experiences to the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the renowned Birdcage.”
Stone said he was delighted to be bringing the essence of Gwen to Flemington.
“I am truly excited to be partnering with the Victoria Racing Club in the exclusive Birdcage Enclosure at Flemington for Cup Week,” the chef said.
“Our collective vision is to create an extraordinary dining experience at Gwen that combines exceptional cuisine, impeccable service, and an unforgettable atmosphere.
Curtis Stone Events will also deliver Lucky’s, a new corporate hospitality experience in the Birdcage for up to 300 guests each day. Lucky’s will feature all-day canapes paired with beverages from other VRC partners including Penfolds, G.H. Mumm and Furphy.
“We look forward to making every visit to Gwen, Lucky’s and the Birdcage Enclosure a memorable one,” Stone said.
Other hospitality operator, The Big Group, will deliver the VRC’s Bird Bath Bar at Birdcage Enclosure, a new retail quarter and fully-inclusive private marquees for corporate guests titled Bridled, Unbridled, Cavesson and Cavesson Royal.
“We are thrilled to reaffirm our partnership with the Victoria Racing Club for the prestigious Melbourne Cup Carnival,” Big Group founder Bruce Keebaugh said.
Food & Desire will work with Birdcage Enclosure partners to curate exceptional marquee experiences for guests.
Co-director Asaf Smoli said they are determined to deliver an experience that will leave a lasting impression on guests during Melbourne Cup Week.
“It’s an absolute honour to be selected as a caterer for the Melbourne Cup Carnival once more,” Smoli said. “This event holds a special place in our hearts, and we are genuinely ecstatic to be able to create unforgettable dining experiences that will truly complement the grandeur and excitement of this remarkable celebration.”
The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival begins on Saturday 4 November with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 9 November, and concludes with TAB Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 11 November.