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Who is our Best Barista?

Espressing a Latte Love for Coffee

Posted on 27 March, 2018

Excitement was in the air at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) as management embarked on a quest to find the best coffee brewer in the whole of the centre.

The inaugural GCCEC Best Barista competition was seeking someone who knew their crema from their bloom and their hopper from their doser. No insta-coffee wannabes were going to make the grade here.

Eleven hopefuls – including eventual winner Max Nicolic – were put to the test and set the task of creating an espresso, a cappuccino and a latte for four different judges who had a range of milk requirements that included full cream, skim, soy and almond.

They were judges from GCCEC who enjoy the odd Cup of Joe or two and know what they like – not necessarily why they like it. All that is, except Rod Kennedy who has the enviable title of Gold Coast Area Manager for market leading coffee bean company Vittoria Food & Beverage.

Rod knows the coffee journey from bean to cup inside out and he knows why a good coffee is a good coffee.

 He said the standard and number of participants who entered the competition was a great show of enthusiastic and passionate GCCEC Baristas.

 Rod was particularly impressed with English-born Max Nicolic who beat out 10 other hopefuls for the title of the inaugural GCCEC Best Barista.

 “Max showed great pride a professionalism – he brought his own apron to look the part to deliver quality coffee,” he said.

 “He spent time setting up, cleaning and organising his station in accordance with venue food and beverage standards.

 “He also had great technique and procedure to deliver the products required in assessment.

 “Overall, he demonstrated a strong understanding of the quality required – technique, service and confidence.”

Max honed his caffeine creating skills managing a café in south-east England and moved to Australia two years ago. He takes great pride in making coffee and said there IS a secret to making a good cuppa.

 “It’s more methodical than just making coffee,” he said.

 “The key thing about being a Barista is having the coffee beans as pure as possible. The production and process is what makes a good coffee. It’s the art behind it.”

 Max’s now has the honour of wearing the inaugural GCCEC Best Barista badge and sharing his award-winning coffee with GCCEC delegates and visitors.


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What Our Clients Say

I have conducted two major formal dinners at GCCEC for approx 700 people each time, the more recent of these being held in March 2015. I am completely satisfied with all aspects of working with GCCEC and their performance in presenting our function. They were completely professional and were willing to do things exactly the way I wanted them done, even meeting some unusual requirements. When I requested to make layout changes only hours before the dinner the request was accommodated immediately and with professional ease. The dinner was an alternate drop three course full service meal with drinks package, and it was without a doubt the best formal dinner I have ever attended. I have managed many similar dinners in the past but this dinner achieved by far the best result, it was the easiest to organise and to then manage on the night. Our GCCEC functions manager was a competent and willing professional who achieved an absolutely flawless event. I am still trying to understand how the catering staff were able to prepare almost 700 perfectly cooked and presented meals and get them to the tables whilst still hot. An excellent event perfectly presented by cheerful and competent professional staff.

Bruce Schmidtchen
Chairman, 5RAR Assoc Inc 50th Anniversary Reunion Committee

We have held our major event, the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF), at the GCCEC on six occasions since it opened in 2004. Through holding our event at the GCCEC we have established a terrific relationship with the venue. Each and every staff member works tirelessly to ensure that our event is run to the highest calibre. Any task, no matter how little or large is undertaken to ensure our expectations are met and our event is delivered successfully.

AIST Events Team

It’s the small things that make such a big difference. My organisation has held its conference annually at GCCEC since 2008, during which I’ve experienced unparalleled service. I continue to be amazed by the dedication, friendliness and professionalism of all staff – be it sales and event management to back of house and floor staff. They know my event inside and out, making the experience seamless. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every conference I’ve held here!

Marika MacKenzie
Communications Manager, Optometry Queensland Northern Territory

You guys did it again! It is such a pleasure to work with a dedicated, proactive and friendly team. Your can-do attitude, your attention to detail and your willingness to try something new all help to make our lives easier and to keep our event fresh and interesting. Once again, the food was superb and the level of service provided by everyone at the centre was exceptional.

Julie Hood
Director Events Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

There is no doubt that next time we need to be ‘creative’ on the Gold Coast; the GCCEC is the only venue we’d choose. No matter how difficult or unusual our demands prior to the event, nothing proved impossible for you and during the conference your professionalism and attention to detail ensured that everything ran without a hitch enabling us to focus properly on the job in hand. Last, but not least, the catering was superb!

Greg O’Neil
General Manager - Rural Merchandise CRT Rural Supplies