That was massive, right? 2013? We rocked it, there’s no doubt and we intend to carry right on rocking it through 2014 and beyond, so grab your hats folks and hold tight. Here we go, our year in retrospect…
2013 could only be called a year of contrasts – from floods to bushfires, Julia to Ruddy, Abbott and beyond, we have lived and breathed just about all of it this past year. Much of it was good, some of it was amazing, and a portion downright challenging – nothing changes, really.
We herald the new year with a heatwave across the South East of Australia and consequent raging bushfires in Tasmania, followed by a monsoon trough over Queensland and New South Wales. Flooding and tournadoes claim the headlines. We await a year of crazy weather, cross our fingers and dig deep for all those affected.
Over in LA, the annual Gday USA shindig is kicking off. We do our bit at the Qantas Spirit of Australia cocktail party and the team up with culinary mate Tom Colicchio for a Qantas media lunch at Craft LA.
Australia Day rolls around and our fearless leader Neil Perry receives an Order of Australia medal in the Australia Day honours list for ‘significant service to the community as a benefactor of and a fundraiser for charities, and as a chef and restaurateur’. Proud? As punch! CEO of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Louise Baxter, summed up Neil’s contribution by saying, “Neil Perry is an exceptional example of an Australian who is continually giving back and gives selflessly to organisations who support those in need, and has made an enormous contribution to the hospitality and restaurant industry both within Australia and on the world stage. Neil does this while being incredibly humble and asking for nothing in return.”…we couldn’t agree more Louise!
It’s the OzHarvest CEO CookOff. Over $1 million was raised with proceeds being shared between OzHarvest, The Big Issue and ONE80TC. Neil cooked it up with mates including Maggie Beer, Marty Boetz, Poh Ling Yeow, Mike McEnearney, Matt Moran and Guillaume Brahimi with chopping, slicing and dicing courtesy of some of Australia’s top CEOs and business leaders.. Only 43 bandaids distributed that we know of!
We celebrate Chinese New Year 2013, the Year of the Water Snake. Spice Temples Sydney and Melbourne serve special banquet menus incorporating ingredients that promote health, wealth and fertility…Northern style pork buns bring ‘Family unity’ and Crispy lucky duck with steamed bread, shallots and hoisin – ‘Fidelity’….whilst Stir fried deluxe mushrooms, baby king brown, enoki, oyster, shitake and white cloud bring us a worthy dose of ‘Prosperity’. Nice.
Still in Feb and we kick start the ‘Classics lunch menu’ at Rockpool on George, every Friday.
We bring you the much- loved Rockpool dishes of yester year, from Fish fillets poached in coconut milk with garam masala, and Herb and spice crusted tuna with eggplant salad, to Stir fried spanner crab omelette, Chilli salt squid and date tart! A culinary wander through the archives. Delicious amounts of fun.
It’s March. Tensions are…well, tense in the labour party. Prime minster Julia Gillard brings on a leadership spill. Assumed challenger Kevin Rudd sits tight and does not contest. Things as they were…nothing to see here, people.
Kimi Raikonnen wins the Australia F1 Grand Prix.
Spice Temple Melbourne brings us the 80’s Chinese dinner! Staff are clad in silk, carnations adorn the tables and lanterns are at their ambient best. A highlight of the previous dinner at Spice Temple Sydney, the rocking 80’s soundtrack specially prepared by the wonderful Anton Monsted was a huge hit. Prawn toast, crab and corn soup, lemon chicken and Mongolian lamb were amongst the star dishes, and deep fried ice cream of course.
And…we update the bar menu at Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney. Hello to such fabulousness as the ‘Play it again Pierre’ and the ‘Zombie deluxe’… and the menu itself describes our ‘cocktails for revelry’ as “Boat Drinks”, or “cocktails for that ‘just released from prison feeling’, for those who see in the bottom of a punch bowl a horoscope of gaiety, joy, revelry, carousing and happy madness!” No wonder we love working here.
Our stunning beef ageing program continues to star across all our restaurants.
Much-adored racehorse Black Caviar is retired, with an unbeaten record of 25 wins under her saddle.
Chrissy Amphlett dies in New York. A sad sad day for the Australian music industry and her many fans worldwide.
Neil does a touch of filming with Qantas in the middle of the dessert, in Dubai and we ‘Feed Melbourne’ at The Gourmet Soup Lunch. Brendan from Rosetta served up the ribollita, Rockpool Bar & Grill’s Will was on the parsnip and honey soup and Ben from Spice Temple patiently braised the Chinese pork and cabbage. $7 got you a delicious soup and a bread roll from Phillippa’s Bakery. Every cent went to Melbourne food charities.
Out Qantas way, Rockpool Consulting was proud to play their part in an immaculate gala dinner celebrating the new partnership between Qantas and Emirates. Held in Hangar 96 at Sydney Airport, tables were laid beneath the mighty wings of the A380.
All seemed quiet out in the world in May. At Rockpool, we put on some fantastic dinners for Qantas EpiQure at Spice Temple Sydney and Rosetta.
Neil and Brendan set sail for Lizard Island to take part in the Wolf Blass Gourmet Weekend (nice work if you can get it!), the poor old staff in Sydney had to suffer through a caviar tasting. Poor things. Bleeding hearts. Yeah yeah. And Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney hosted the Great Gatsby/ Tiffany event.
Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard 57 to 45 in an Australian labour party leadership spill (see March).
Rockpool helps Icebergs in Bondi celebrate 10 years! Well done guys. Happy birthday! No mean feat!
Spice Temple Sydney holds their Shaanxi regional dinner. Wood roasted lamb skewers with heaven facing chilli amongst the wonderment.
Heston Blumenthal is in the house at Bar & Grill Sydney making little Levi McCormack’s wish come true.
The Wine Spectator Awards are announced. Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney wins it’s 4th consecutive Grand Award. Only 73 restaurants worldwide hold such awards are we are so proud as always to be amongst them. All 7 Rockpool restaurants are recognised. Amazing!
Neil and Brendan head to the fabulous Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand to present a few of their favourite Rosetta dishes… San Danielle prosciutto with cabbage and parmesan; Seafood risotto with tomato and chilli; Slow cooked lamb with caponata and rosemary potatoes; and Panna cotta with stewed rhubarb
Cocktail master James Connolly, from Rockpool Bar and Grill Perth is named in the year’s Australian Bartender top 100 Most Influential List.
Neil cooks up a dish fit for a king on the Today Show, Bread and butter pudding.
The Fine Wine Partners and Gourmet Traveller WINE 2013 Australian Wine List of the Year Awards. We are thrilled to receive three awards; Best wine by the glass at Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth, Best Informal Dining Wine List at Spice Temple Melbourne and Best Digestif List at Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth.
The winner of Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne’s inaugural ‘Apprentice Cook Off’ was 3rd year apprentice James Mitchell, mentored by Robbie Bell. James’ dish was ‘Grilled red mullet with seasonal vegetables, oyster beurre blanc and chestnut farfalle’. Winners are grinners.
Award season hits.
The Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards are held and all 7 Rockpool Group Restaurants are named in the Top 50 with Rockpool on George leading the charge at number 6.
Rosetta, Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne and Spice Temple Melbourne all score 2 hats in the AGE Good Food Guide awards. A very special congratulations to our Melbourne General Manager, Vanessa Crichton for taking out the Service and Excellence Award and to Ben Shewry and the team at Attica on taking out the big one – Restaurant of the Year and Ben, Chef of the year – as always, it is great to be a part of this fantastic industry and have peers of such incredible talent and depth.
The Liberal – National coalition led by Tony Abbott wins the 2013 federal election (see March/ June).
Neil travels to London to cook a Qantas lunch at Phil Howard’s ‘The Square’.
He also goes ‘MAD’ in Copenhagen.
Rockpool on George retains 3 hats at the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards. Spice Temple and Rockpool Bar & Grill retain 2 each. Legends, all.
September 28 sees the day finally arrive for the 2013 Ultimate Dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney. Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, Brett Graham, Ben Shewry, Grant Achatz, Neil Perry and Phil Wood in the house. Blush! Neil’s chef mates gang up on him and remove a portion of the treasured pony tail. All in the name of The Starlight Children’s Foundation.
The International Fleet Review is held on Sydney Harbour to celebrate the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy fleet in to the harbour.
The 2013 New South Wales bushfire season begins with menacing force.
The Marriage Equality Act 2013 is passed in the Australian Capital Territory, making the ACT the first state or territory to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia.
We commence the incredible ‘All Star Dinners’ at Rockpool on George. Welcome home Mike McEnearney, Kylie Kwong and Ross Lusted (also Sydney Morning Herald’s Chef of the Year), we missed you!
An awesome wine dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth (they do these so well!) with Peter
Althaus of Domaine A Stoney Vineyard.
Rosetta turns 1!!!
Neil’s latest book, ‘Simply Good Food’ is released. It’s always so exciting – these things take agggggges to finally get to us!
Our very own David Lawler from Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne is elected as President of Sommeliers Australia.
Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth gets their own taste of The Ultimate Dinner for the first time. Heston stays behind, David Thompson steps in – all remaining superstars – as you were!
It’s Good Food Month in Sydney and we throw ourselves into some fun events – ‘The Classics’ at Rockpool on George; ‘Cantonese Food I Love’ at Spice Temple; and ‘The Great Australian Dinner’ with Rene Redzepi and a gaggle of Australia’s finest chefs.
It’s the last full month of Rockpool on George. We are moving. To Bridge Street. Early November. Lots of stories, memories, regulars popping in just one last time. Emotional times.
Wow, October was big!
Fiorente, wins the 2013 Melbourne Cup. Someone wins the Rockpool sweep. It’s not me, as usual.
Our bar team at Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth are on fire! Congratulations to David Nguyen-Luu on being named as WA’s Best Mixologist at the AHA award.
Goodbye Rockpool on George after 24 ½ years at this iconic site as we head to the future iconic site on Bridge St and it is full steam ahead! We close after dinner service on Saturday the 9th and prepare for opening Tuesday at the new gaff. Crazy? Perhaps, but that’s just the way we roll. Neil spends the last full week at George St in the kitchen with Phil. Tears…but hellooooo Bridge Street! We share some memories…http://www.rockpool.com/2013/11/memories-of-rockpool/
Rockpool on George goes under the hammer as we sell off so many of her beautiful bits and pieces.
Australia regains The Ashes for the first time in seven years. The white wash is yet to come (it happened in January!)
Wild Oats XI takes line honours in the 2013 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, clocking up 7 wins.
Pretty new Summer uniforms at Rosetta in pastel shades…gelato-esque…
Terry Durack gives Rockpool (as we now, once again, refer to the mothership) 18/20 within her first month at the new Bridge St location.
We prepare for Christmas and the new year. http://www.rockpool.com/2013/12/the-twelve-days-of-christmas-2/
People fill the restaurants and toast a mighty year. We hope yours has been mighty too – and very much look forward to sharing great food, wine and good times with you all in 2014.
The Rockpool family x