In 1997, Qantas Airways contracted Neil Perry to create a new food service experience for their First customers. Initial discussions between Neil and Qantas were aimed at the creation of Neil as a ‘Guest Chef’ – a similar program to that being conducted by many of the world’s major airlines. Neil was reluctant to simply create menus which would then be sent to world-wide catering centres, resulting in an end product that was far removed from the dining experience enjoyed by Rockpool restaurant customers. After further discussion, an agreement was reached, Rockpool Consulting was formed and Neil took over the Qantas First food experience. It led to a new way of cooking for and serving the airline’s customers and the rest is Qantas culinary history. At the time, Neil commented “Together, Qantas and Rockpool have changed the inflight dining experience. We have altered the way we cook on board and now we cook using fresh produce. We literally cook and blanch mid flight and don’t simply reheat like other airlines”.
The consulting team works alongside a number of Rockpool and Qantas chefs to create original, restaurant-quality meals for the in-flight menus and lounges that don’t compromise on quality. The team take a pro-active role in the entire menu development process, from designing the dishes, to writing and testing the recipes, training chefs in ports all over the world and communicating with and training the cabin crew who cook and deliver the food on board. In the Premium Cabins, just as in any restaurant, it is important that the Qantas menus change frequently. Using his detailed knowledge of international and local food trends, seasonal produce, creative suppliers and individual catering centres, Neil is able to produce new global menus on a regular basis.
Of course, just like an award winning restaurant, an airline is not acclaimed for its food alone. Neil and his team also work closely with cabin crew to ensure that an ethos of service, hospitality and generosity overlays the entire meal service. Our Rockpool Consulting team works with the International and Domestic Food and Beverage teams, Q Catering, Cabin Crew Management and catering centres throughout the world in regards to menu development and delivery, crew training, communication, wine selection, auditing and new product development. Our commitment to quality and training is paramount and unrivalled.
Neil’s philosophy has always been ‘the cornerstone of good cooking is to source the finest produce’. This philosophy is what drives the Rockpool Group every single day and is carried through into our Qantas menus with a plethora of great providers and suppliers.