Literally. This pop up is on a roof (and it’s awesome too ) !
“…the concept behind MasterChef Dining & Bar is simple. To offer a premium dining experience that connects fans of the show to the chefs, contestants, and dishes made famous by the series…” Sounds easy enough – but how do you go about building a unique restaurant to match the style and buzz of the incredibly popular MasterChef Australia ? It’s probably like one of those complicated recipes – start with a very creative team, toss in a dramatic location, pour over a good measure of style and atmosphere… and mix it up with some of Australia’s freshest kitchen talent !
The MasterChef pop up dining and bar concept started in Sydney last year (3 weeks on the forecourt of St. Mary’s Cathedral), then moved to a stunning harbour-side location at MCA (The Rocks) for September 2013 – and now Melbourne will see the same installation throughout October. The whole event (marquee structure, commercial kitchen, back-of-house, furniture and fittings) was packed up in Sydney, shipped south and hoisted onto the roof of Melbourne’s Crown Towers.
Planning for the 2013 pop up began back in December, when Alex Zabotto-Bentley and his team at AZBcreative put on their conceptual hats and started to envisage what a pop up restaurant could be. They imagined an un-conventional installation to enhance the MasterChef experience… housed within a 900 square meter temporary structure, on two levels, featuring a 150+ seat restaurant, 3 private dining rooms, 2 bars – and a functional, open-to-full-view commercial kitchen ! AZBcreative usually produce magic with a staff of 10… for MasterChef their numbers swelled to over 40 (designers, engineers, event planners, project managers and support teams).
Materials around the MasterChef kitchen and dining spaces include Carrera marble benchtops, stunning jade green ceramic tiles and recycled Oregon counters, mosaic patterned flooring and beautiful pendant lighting effects. The theme of the space is also enhanced with iconic references to the MasterChef series (a herb wall, blackboards, benches laden with fresh ingredients, shelves lined packaged products), while the overall atmosphere seems styled on a fine European dining / food hall experience.
When this pop up opens it will certainly buzz with excitement. On some days it will do 4 seatings (that could be 500+ covers), whilst also hosting up to 200 guests in the upstairs bars. That’s an awful lot of F&B and back-of-house to coordinate ! As guests munch through their 5 course degustation menus… will they give any thought to the logistics of this pop up ? How do you get this structure and all the interior up to the roof of a casino, where does the water, electricity and cooking gas come from, how is this massive structure kept warm / cool / fresh when there’s a commercial kitchen steaming away in the centre of the space ?
MasterChef is pushing the pop up boundaries ! I was thrilled to see this installation has taken on the challenge of an iconic brand… put it in an extreme location… and created a striking and memorable dining experience (and I cant wait to see what AZB does next…) !
What – MasterChef Dining & Bar 2013
Where – Crown Tower Melbourne rooftop (access via Crown Spa, level 3)
When – October 1st to 27th
Bookings – Ticketmaster
Designed by AZBcreative for MasterChef dining and Bar 2013. Photography: Jennifer Soo