This time last week Guy Grossi was king hit and George Calombaris hit his stride.
The air at the State Soccer Centre in Melbourne's Thornbury was heavy with machismo and the threat of rain after a morning of thunderous downpours. We were at the Heinz Charity Cup, a day of soccer matches fielded by sixteen teams from Melbourne's better known restaurants and their suppliers, to raise money for the Starlight Foundation.
Families and restaurant groupies swarmed the grounds. RRR FM provided background entertainment with an outside broadcast and Damm Fine Food filled the air with the comforting smells of a gourmand's sausage sizzle. Loaves of commercial white bread leant flaccid and lazy against the wall outside the Broadcast team's window and a walking, giant Heinz ketchup bottle - waving its lid helplessly - was being harassed by spiteful bored children.
The teams gathered onfield, their families clustered under makeshift shelters battling the hot, humid and blustery spring elements. Dogs played and the more rambunctious little tackers wreaked havoc in a Shrek Bouncy Castle. The broadcasters discussed growing organic lettuces. Onfield, kitchen egos flared and then Guy, Executive Chef of Grossi Florentino and Mirka at Tolarno, got sconed.
Paul Wilson, Executive Chef of The Botanical, was surprisingly nimble on his feet. Moving across the field like a black battle ship, he was a force to be reckoned with. On the side lines, the whisper in the crowd was that Chef Robin Wickens had padded out Team Interlude with ring-ins.
The wog boys from Cecconi's fought tooth and nail with the combined team of Mini & Syracuse. While crouched on the sidelines, a listless apprentice from Jacques Reymond complained that he had an arduous Saturday, culminating in 63 covers and was heading home later to write a 1200 word essay.
The kitchen brigade from The Press Club were impressive performers - Chef George Calombaris played with gusto leading his team to an resounding seven/nil thrashing of Ezard/Gingerboy. Across the way teams Pearl and Oyster battled the wind that was ripping fiercely at the San Pellegrino banners.
Apparently The European crew was there too, along with Joseph's, Sarti, Movida and The Grand Hyatt, but as the rain began to fall we escaped the havoc to the relative comfort of the Northcote Social Club for a cleansing ale.
Heinz Charity Cup Results
Press Club Vs Mini/Syracuse 0-3;
European Vs Botantical 0-1;
Final: Botanical Vs Mini/Syracuse 0-2
Since 1988, Starlight Children's Foundation Australia has brightened the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children, and their families, by delivering innovative programs that restore the fun, laughter and joy that serious illness takes away.
Living with illness or injury can cause enormous strain in the lives of children and their families. The pain, loneliness and isolation that sick children feel dominates their lives to the extent that they often miss out on the fun, laughter and normal experiences that healthy children take for granted.
Physical recovery is only part of the solution. Starlight delivers programs designed to make children happy and lift their spirits when they need it most. Starlight brings fun and laughter to children no matter what their illness or where they live.
"Looking after a child with a chronic or life threatening illness requires a comprehensive ‘total’ approach to care, a healing environment that includes entertainment, diversion, fun, laughter and joy. Starlight is a key partner in providing these aspects of care.” Professor Les White Executive Director, The Children’s Hospital
Starlight provides its services Australia-wide and its programs are delivered both in and out of hospital, providing positive distraction to children in their time of need.