PERRY'S RECIPE TO SUCCESS
Culinary extraordinaire Neil Perry behind Australia’s renowned Rockpool Group has proven to deliver hospitality from fine dinning rooms, gourmet food outlets, cooking books, television and the first and business class suites at 45,000 feet, onboard Qantas Airways.
WORDS JACK FREEMAN IMAGES BY THE ROCKPOOL GROUP
Whilst Perry has been considered an overnight success, his passion for great food and the finest produce has seen him deliver ranging uber restaurants under his famous Rockpool empire. Offering a vast menu and the ultimate fine dinning experience in both Sydney and Melbourne as well as his stylish Spice Temple focusing on dishes from regional china offering a sexy underground emporium. Neil’s acclaimed status as one of the worlds leading tastemakers has further been propelled by his attention to detail, as across his wide span of ventures a common denominator includes seamless quality and service.
The apple has proven to not fall far from the tree as his 21 year old daughter Josephine has recently taken on her own venture launching Missy French, leaving school at age 16, years on she heads a new modern chic bistro in Potts Point, independent from her highly successful fathers empire, creating her own path, originating from the humble beginnings of cleaning cutlery at Spice Temple. Perry says “She totally gets hospitality and has grown up with all the guys at Rockpool ... it would be hard to find a person with better timing than her”.
As one of Australia’s most celebrated and prominent chefs and restaurateur’s, what has been your secret to success?
For me, it’s the focus on detail. From our suppliers to our menus, from our restaurant designs to our customer service, we do everything to the best of our ability. By surrounding myself with a team of management that I trust and respect at every turn, has enabled me as a person, and the Rockpool Group as a company, to grow and flourish.
As the Qantas consultant chef, what do you believe makes Qantas a leading premium airline and how have you gone about designing the inflight and lounge options for Business and First customers?
Qantas’ attitude makes all the difference. From the top down, they empower, not control.
For 18 years, they’ve enabled us to do our job to the fullest and involved us across all aspects of the business from menu planning and testing, to training, service, audit and review.
We have nine full time consultants working within Qantas now, and have just assembled a team of Rockpool sommeliers and mixologists to select the wines, Champagnes, spirits and other beverages for Qantas domestic and international flights and lounges. It’s an exciting time and we are thrilled to work so closely with Qantas.
Favourite destination of all time?
It would have to be Tokyo. I love the culture and the food is so extraordinary, that it’s impossible to have a bad meal. They focus on craft, detail and of course, seasonality, all the things that I admire in a cuisine.
Where to next?
South America…Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima.
Tell us about your recent “Burger Project”, how did it come about? And what made you decide to venture into a second outlet in Melbourne?
We wanted to make the famous Rockpool Bar & Grill wagyu burger more accessible, for more people to enjoy. It really is fast food with slow food values; we use 36 month grass fed Cape Grim beef with no additives, no hormones and it’s cut, minced and rolled into patties by hand daily. Burger Project offers a different vibe but has the same uncompromising Rockpool ethic.
Based on the success and momentum of our first outlet in World Square, which we opened in October 2014, we wanted to bring the concept to Melbourne, where we have strong ties, especially due to our three established restaurants at Crown.
We’re planning on a Burger Project expansion in the next 18 months with three openings in Sydney (Gateway October 2016; Parramatta January 2017; and Broadway early 2017) and two in Melbourne (St Collins Square March 2016; and Chadstone September 2016).
What are some of your favourite home-cooked meals you make on a regular basis?
We love to make tortillas using a mix of grilled chicken and prawns, cabbage, salsa, chipotle and of course, steamed tortillas. Also, nothing beats a roast chook in my Big Green Egg.
Whilst you have and continue to work across a range of cuisines and styles, what is one thing you believe is engraved within every restaurant?
Our philosophy of Care! Care for our suppliers, care for staff and each other, care for our restaurants, care for our customers, care for the community and how we can make a real difference, and care for our sustainable attitude and responsibility. Each restaurant, and our company as a whole, has this as its core.