Certain things are as crucial to the live sport viewing experience as the results themselves. From the pre-game beers with the boys to the adornment of team colours, watching your favourite team play is an experience. Our weekends revolve around kick-off and every action taken has consequences for not just the end score but how we digest it – that is, whether we go home crying into our pillow or salvage some kind of enjoyment from the whole ordeal. When it comes to the food, we’re only interested in the fried stuff. Give us some chicken nuggets or a burger with the kind of patty you know several staff have sweated over. We want hot chips that reek so bad of chicken salt, our fingers are stained with that salty goodness for weeks following. It’s something of a tragedy then, that the MCG has announced its plans of ditching fast-food restaurants like Red Roosters in favour of a new wave of fancy dining establishments.
According to reports by the Herald Sun, the MCG’s new lineup of eateries will be headlined by celebrity fine-dining chef Guy Grossi, who is set to wreak havoc on a scene that has otherwise been preoccupied with fast-food and takeaway. Grossi will also transform the exclusive MCC committee room into a mini Italian restaurant, serving President’s Club lunches and functions at the ground. Non-MCC members will also be able to dine at “The Committee Room by Guy Grossi” during the week, while it also operates on days when the footy isn’t on.
Not surprisingly, news of the change hasn’t exactly gone down smooth for fans. One took to Twitter to write: “Guy Grossi will replace red rooster chips with polenta chips at the MCG and it should be considered a crime.” Another put forward a valid argument regarding cost: “No Red Rooster at the MCG anymore. Disgrace. Nobody wants $70 gourmet meals at the footy. They want $70 chicken and chips.”
Of course, there were a number of people quick to voice their support for the change. Journalist Lav Baj tweeted: “Everyone getting mad about the MCG getting better food is out of line. I went to AAMI Park the other day and they were serving cannolis during the football and honestly that’s living the dream, if you ask me.”
Sports reporter Vince Rugari also echoed his support: “For years people have complained about the absolute crap food being offered at Australian sports venues. Now they actually do something about it and you people are literally crying. Godless country.”
The MCG indicates that Red Rooster will be replaced by two new food franchises, perhaps offering Gami Chicken and Royal Stacks. Regardless of just how good the fancy food is, it’s going to be a very hard sell given how entrenched Red Rooster is to the viewing experience at the MCG. It’s basically a ritual one has to adhere to and to see it done away with is cause for heartbreak. While cricket fans will be treated to the new additions this weekend at the T20 International between Australia and Sri Lanka, others will need to wait for the beginning of the 2022 AFL season on March 16.