MPT Corporate Events – Josh Oakes

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  • David Bicknell Chief Winemaker2
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Our Top Five Company Christmas Party Ideas for 2016

It’s that time of the year again and if you haven’t started thinking about your company Christmas Party, we’re here to help.

I hope there’s some inspiration to be found from our Top Five Company Christmas Party Ideas for 2016:


Party In The Park

Everybody loves a garden party – Think jugs of Pimms, hampers filled with a smorgasbord of delectable goodies, garden furniture and day beds, chilled French Champagne, ice cold premium beers, and an acoustic duet in one of Melbourne’s majestic garden settings.

To turn the ‘fun’ into downright memorable, throw in some good old- fashioned lawn games and your party is guaranteed to be a hit. Get competitive at croquet, skittles, quoits and even a few childhood favourites like a sack race and tug of war challenge.



Our Snapper Challenge


For a fun, casual team event with a difference, get out on the open water and tackle our Snapper Challenge. Relax on deck, enjoy a gourmet barbecue and see who can reel in the catch of the day… We’ll then have one of our team cook up your fresh catch on board.

Earn some serious bragging rights by hooking the biggest of our feisty pink friends. We’ll have a leader board visible for all to see just to add to the theatre. Finish the day back on shore with a few post-fishing drinks on an open terrace to bemoan the one that got away.



Bubble Soccer Tournament and Picnic


It works perfectly for a competive bunch who also love to blow off some steam with some serious laughs at the same time. This one is a winner. Teams go head to head, or bubble on bubble, wearing giant inflatable balls. It’s nothing short of chaos but guarantees plenty of laughs and plenty of fodder for chats round the water cooler. Combine with a selection of cold drinks and a gourmet picnic in a majectic Melbourne park.



Hands On Cocktail Party

Break the ice and shake up your next corporate event with the help of a professional cocktail maker for some festive Christmas mixology. Learn to shake, mix, muddle and even invent your very own creations. We have an enthusiastic and skillful demonstrator who runs through a selection of gourmet cocktails before a master chef style cocktail-off ensues between the best contestants. Once you have got in touch with your creative side, kick back and enjoy the results of your hard work over canapés. It is a perfect Christmas event and can be set up absolutely anywhere.



A Yarra Valley Garden Party


Upon arrival,  head through to the private winery for an exclusive barrel tasting with the winemaker. Once complete, move on out to the lawn where you’ll be treated to shared regional platters and estate wines, whilst enjoying lawn games such as petanque, croquet, quoits, tug of war, egg and spoon races, or good old fashioned sack races. Later, enjoy an indulgent gourmet picnic lunch of fine Yarra Valley produce. Admire the scenery in a secluded area of the vineyard before kicking back on the rolling green lawns for a charming garden party against the backdrop of the Yarra Ranges.




Move back to their magnificent private barrel room for a feast of carefully sourced local fare (think the likes of Chestnut and cranberry stuffed turkey, Spice honey glazed ham), washed down with a selection of estate wines.


Get in touch if you think we can help.

Taking a Master Class to a Whole New Level


I wanted to share with you all a couple of brilliant new variations that have succeeded in taking one of my favourite events to another level.


Taste! A Masterclass in Flavour is a hilarious ‘show’ in which two stalwarts of Melbourne’s food and wine scene enlighten you on how to really use your tongue and nose to taste like the professionals.


Wine writer Max Allen and food writer Richard Cornish introduce you to the exciting world of neuro gastronomy, but without the ‘pomp’ and teach you how the tongue, nose and brain work together to create the sense of flavour – all the while keeping the mood light, fresh and funny.

Max and Richard are old buddies and bounce off each other beautifully. What I really love about this event though is that it can be delivered in a range of different restaurants and venues at varying price points and each provide a different angle by way of the food and beverage offering – Max and Richard effortlessly weave their presentation into the culinary delights on offer.

Here are two new and contrasting venues that have allowed us to elevate ‘Taste’ to Hall of Fame status!


At Craft and Co,  we begin with a glass of prosecco and house brewed beers on arrival, followed by a beautiful sharing menu from chef Dom Marzano. We start with a delicious selection of cheeses, salumi and condiments on deli boards. Then it’s time for smoked trout brandade cheese croquettes and lamb ribs, followed by roast Italian porketta and a selection of side dishes. The menu concludes with Sicilian cannoli and fresh seasonal cherries.


The Belleville Hotel is just a little bit quirky and works beautifully for what is a pretty quirky event.  Max and Richard weave their presentation effortlessly into a multi course menu of signature dishes from the Belleville kitchen team. Think amazing lobster mac & cheese, southern fried cauliflower with hot and sour sauce plus pork hock, orange & lemongrass caramel and red papaya salad. Main course is the famous rotisserie chicken with miso butte glaze, served with mango and daikon slaw and kim chi fried rice.


I hope your tastebuds are suitably tantalised and please give us a shout: if you’d like to know more.

A Refreshing Collection of New Event Ideas

For those businesses out there that are now in the planning stages of their 2016 company Christmas Party, I thought a fresh does of inspiration would be the perfect tonic for a Monday morning.



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Super Yacht Cocktail Party


In our  MPT Corporate Event Brochure- Inspiration For Your Next Event you’ll find some old favourites, plus some fresh and exciting new event ideas that I’m sure you’ll love.


Team Fun On a Shoestring

History tells us that August can be a tough time to keep your team motivated.


The end of financial year frenzy is finished, it’s been a looong, cold winter…and the finish line is not quite in sight just yet.

It’s always a month when corporate Melbourne reaches out to us to help inject a little fun and energy into their team environment.

I thought I’d share some of our favorites with you today:

Human Foosball – get yourself in the game with this real life version of table foosball. Teams of 6 players are strapped to their pole with the ability only to move sideways to reach the ball. Players must work together in cohesion while strapped to their pole with the aim of sending the ball forward to score. It works perfectly as it evens out the skill levels – and it can be run indoors.

Boeing 737 Simulator event – Put yourself in the Captain’s seat with this Boeing 737 Simulator Competition. It’s an exhilarating experience that lets you challenge your colleagues and take charge of the aircraft.


It is based on a Boeing 737-800 and features a life-sized cockpit with stunning, realistic scenery that plays on your senses – making this thrilling experience as close to reality as possible.


Each flight will be Captained by two GT Pilots under the guidance of a Flight Experience Instructor. Right next door is one of our very favourite city bars and we recommend running a cocktail event there whilst your MPT host rotates teams through the simulator next door, then back to the bar. At the conclusion the Flight Experience Instructor will announce the results and issue the winner’s trophies (and loser’s wooden spoons)


Bubble Soccer – brave the elements get some fresh air in the lungs. Teams of four or five go head to head, or bubble on bubble, wearing giant inflatable balls.


Try shooting and scoring, while encased in a bubble and getting bounced around by your colleagues. It is nothing short of chaos but guarantees a lot of laughs and plenty of fodder for chats round the water cooler.


Remote Controlled Racing – How do you get truly unique interactive fun, thrills, spills and a challenge that everyone can be involved in?


Unleash the radio controlled toys! Options are limitless. Teams will be pitted against the clock as they navigate their way through various courses with action a plenty in specialized big jump cars capable of reaching speeds of 100km/h and designed for monster jumps.


There’ll be speed, wheel spinning action, crashes, controversy and more. This event can be set up anywhere, both indoors or out and can be combined with a cocktail party or an outdoor barbecue…the options are limitless.




For more fun and affordable event ideas, give us a shout:




Ever get the feeling your juggling too many tasks at work? Question is… Can you juggle outside the office???



If you’re looking for laughs in you next team building experience then you’ve found it. You’re guaranteed to find your inner performer with this team circus skills challenge. We’ll team you up with our circus performers and you’ll be doubled over at each other’s efforts to master circus skills like juggling, plate spinning, diabolo or devil sticks.


Our experienced circus trainers will be on hand to fast track you and you’ll be blown away by what you can master in a short time with a bit of persistence.


The event culminates in a team performance where your newly acquired skills will be on show for all to judge. It’s the perfect team event, conference energizer and something that’ll keep a smile on your face all week.


This is what a recent group thought.

Thank you again so much for yesterday – the team loved the Circus Skills activity and are still talking about it this morning.


It was a great activity that allowed us all to find out “superpower” skill that we could do – and as you experienced Tamara, there are some competitive/theatrical ones amongst us so they loved the opportunity to perform and get a medal.

The trainers were brilliant too – they recognised skills, worked individually when needed and were very supportive as well which made it all much easier too.


…I am sure it will set us all giggling again  :)


Quirky EOFY Event ideas

History tells us that when people come calling for End of Financial Year event ideas, the brief is always pretty similar:

  • Nothing over the top
  • Short and sharp
  • Great fun, plenty of laughs and some light-hearted competition
  • Great food and drinks

Here are a couple of tried and tested winners that always deliver:

Escape from Pentridge Prison

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An fun-filled strategic event where teams work together to break out of Melbourne’s famous HM Prison Pentridge, exploring the corridors and exercise courtyard of D-Division. With themed prison guards and costumes, the event will allow “inmates” to develop their prison alter ego and interact with each other in a fun and simulated real life prison environment.

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It’s loaded with mental and strategic challenges and teams need to work together to decipher clues, bribe guards and even steal a master key, following a standard ‘Dummy’s Guide’ to break out of prison plan.


Communication, leadership, problem solving and strategy will be the key to each team’s success. Once you’re ‘free’ you’ll appreciate trading a few laughs over a drink or two and a barbecue lunch.

DSC_0684Food and Wine Sensory Challenge

DSC_0070What we love most about this is that you can set it up literally anywhere. Whether its intertwined with 4 courses in a fine dining restaurant, a pub function room, or even set up in your office conference room, this is a challenge that puts all your senses to the test. It pits team against team with categories covering all aspects of food and wine.


It kicks off with a round of food trivia questions. Followed by a round of sensory challenges, with categories dedicated to spices, cheeses, olives, chocolate and the wine challenge where teams tasked with identify grape varieties by taste.



You might be timed to create the perfect rice paper roll from scratch, or take on the famous ‘mystery box’ challenge. It’s a great team challenge that works brilliantly with groups of all sizes. It is full of great food and drinks, oodles of laughs, the right level of competitiveness and impeccably MC’d to keep the event rolling along seamlessly.


Enjoy – and (it goes without saying) please give us a shout if you think we can help with your next event.


I get this a lot:

‘Josh, we want to do a client event. We’ve had a look at your events and love A, B and C that you guys do, however… we’ve got a great (boardroom/ function space/conference facility) here and ideally would love the show to come to us. Can you do it??’


We’ve built a pretty loyal following over the years from clients who have come to learn that we embrace a challenge, love to think outside the box and have a default response of ‘yes’.

Having said that, it can sometimes prove challenging to recreate a really great event in a fairly standard, non-descriptive boardroom….NOT when you’re working with guys like these though.


The Guglielmino family hail from the Riverina region of NSW and their passion for food and wine is undeniable. Signor Vino is their latest venture and evolved from the marrying of Italian life, food and winemaking with the young, laid back and down to earth Australian way.

IMG_1009The two cultures complement each other perfectly and these guys put on a show that’ll keep you entertained for hours and bring you all the back slaps you could hope for. Best of all they’ll bring that show right to your boardroom.


“I, Signor Vino solemnly declare to be the ultimate compliment to your lips. I promise to dine with you in style and care for your appetites desire. Let me stand tall and fill the silence between your conversations with satisfaction. I will deliver as your perfect companion, be I your mate, your third wheel, or your home alone date. I aim to leave a lasting impression.”


Nick and Stefano deliver a detailed breakdown of their Signor Vino wine range in a classy, casual manner with laughs aplenty, audience interaction and a few stories from the bush thrown in. They’ll have you eating out of their palms.

If that wasn’t enough the family also prepare the most mouth-watering array of home-made ingredients such as Salami, Prosciuto & Capocollo, Mulanchani ‘Marinated Eggplant’, Pomodoro Secchi ‘Sundried Tomatoes’ , Sicilian Olives & home baked bread and the boys pair these up to their wines superbly. The grand finale is most definitely their homemade limoncello which might possibly lead…anywhere…

IMG_1005It’s an unforgettable night of great food and wine, great fun laughs and, best of all delivered to the comfort and convenience of your boardroom. It should most definitely be on your radar.


Dinner with a Difference

A magical, mystical Cocktail Degustation at Eau-de-Vie.

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We had a business come to us recently wanting ideas for a client dinner, but with some ‘flair’ (their words) . We came up with this private, hosted cocktail degustation at Eau-de-Vie – a hidden gem just around the corner from the busy hustle of Melbourne’s city streets. It was a winner. We loved it as much as everybody that was invited. So much so that I’m sharing it with you.Eau de vie6
For those who don’t know, Eau-de-Vie is a speakeasy cocktail bar, a timeless jazz bar – full of character and providing an intimate experience with secret rooms behind book shelves, making it a perfect location for a quirky event.

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On arrival, pull up a stool at the bar and watch the magic happen before your eyes as you’re treated to a custom designed premium cocktail and whisky degustation dinner.

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Enjoy oysters and champagne on arrival, followed by sensational drinks and  a 5 course dinner, prepared by chef Andrew Douglas. Each course includes a combination of the finest ingredients, accompanied by matching cocktails, all hosted and presented by Greg Sanderson, cocktail connoisseur and Australian Bartender of the Year 2012.

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Greg is a true entertainer and will put on a show, the like of which you’ve not seen before. He’ll mesmerise and educate, creating drinks and pairings before your eyes such as:

* Buffalo curds with fino tomatoes, puffed grains and garden herbs, PAIRED WITH Dutch Gin, Bitter Orange, Rosehip, Hibiscus, Carrot and Beetroot

* Albacore tuna in a fragrant broth on chicken rice and morning glory. PAIRED WITH Japanese plum wine, coconut water, homemade falernum, horseradish vinegar, Vietnamese mint

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*Braised beef short rib with cornbread, smoky jus, charred corn and sour leaves PAIRED WITH Dry vermouth, Rhum Agricole, Bitters, Absinthe, Pineapple, smoke


…I could go on…

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Trust me, this is a dinner with a difference that should be on your radar.

Get Your Hands Dirty –

Become an Assistant Winemaker for the Day

Oakridge Urban VineyardNow that vintage is over, the real fun begins in the Yarra Valley!

 If your team has knocked it out of the park this quarter and you’re looking for a meaningful and memorable way to recognise their hard work, then this could well be it.

 An exclusive chance to get your hands dirty alongside the winemaking team of one of the Yarra Valley’s most celebrated vineyards.

 Your team will have a rare opportunity to see first-hand the secrets of an award-winning winemaking team and how their wines are created.

Photography by Rick Liston

 You’ll get involved in a range of activities, both on the vineyard, in the winery and even in the lab! You’ll be collecting fruit from a variety of different sites, crushing and pressing grapes, monitoring tanks, vats and barrels, assessing the fruit in the lab and, of course… there will plenty of time for tasting!

Photography by Rick Liston

 Sneak away at lunchtime for a decadent three-course lunch expertly prepared by the head chef and matched with a selection of premium estate wines.

Oakridge Tasting room

 But the day’s not over yet – After lunch you’ll get to blend, bottle and label your very own creation – the ultimate memento from what promises to be an unforgettable day.

 There’s so much to love about this day and so much a motivated team can get out of it. Not least: A much deserved day out of the office in a pristine wine region.

Grape Picking

 It’s also a fantastic way to focus on systems, processes and the importance of team work, gain an appreciation of our environment, the land and its nuances and of course enjoy some superb food and wine with a chance to spend time with colleagues and share a few laughs.

 It’s one big win!!

 Let me know if you’d like to hear more about our great collection of team event ideas.

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Bring Your Client Dinner To Life

Delivering an amazing client dinner with a little imagination thrown in does the world for your brand and your client relationships.

We recently put on a show at Pastuso that really hit the mark.

If you’re Melbourne based and not familiar with Pastuso yet then write it down.

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Described as a modern Peruvian grill, cevicheria and pisco bar, it has one of the coolest addresses in town tucked away down ACDC lane, past the iconic Cherry Bar just off Flinders Lane– very Melbourne.

Over the course of a night here you’re taken on a journey of discovery through the coast, the Andes and the jungle of Peru’s beautiful food and culture.

We arranged for head chef Alejandro Saravia to greet us on arrival with resident pisco expert Miguel Bellido. Alejandro cut his teeth at the likes of Le Ambassadors (Paris) and The Fat Duck (London) but it’s Peruvian cuisine that gets him out of bed in the morning. He grew up with Peruvian flavours and he loves to draw inspiration from early memories of grandma’s cooking. Meanwhile Miguel hails from Peru and has spent the last 20 years expanding his horizons in bars all over the world. He’s fresh from a tour of Panama where he led a master class series on Pisco – Perú’s national drink and one that’s still relatively elusive in the local drinks scene here in Melbourne. Although, after spending time with Miguel we believe that is soon to change!

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Miguel took us through the history and characteristics of Peruvian pisco, as we moved through a degustation and learnt about the four distinct styles, culminating in two classic pisco cocktails to get everybody in the mood.

Throw in one of Melbourne’s slickest private dining spaces, and a traditional South American acoustic musician, this fiesta was soon in full swing.

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What followed from Alejandro – rightly described as a “feast”- was one for the ages: Ruby red snapper cured in lemon juice with caramelized sweet potato and cancha, lightly smoked black kingfish, pickled beetroot and parsley salsa and possibly the greatest piece of beef I’ve ever tasted – prepared using traditional peruvian cooking methods including: Slow cooking, the parilla (grill), Cilindro (smoking chamber) and served with Andean accompaniments.

Pastuso Tops by Thomas Holst  (42 of 73)Pastuso by Thomas Holst  (300 of 389)It was the perfect recipe for a memorable dinner – blending just the right mix of good food, drinks, music and a little bit of the Latin spirit. Hasta la proxima!