Neil Perry is culinary royalty in his native Australia, and for good reason.

The seasoned chef has put together an eclectic restaurant empire that includes fine-dining masterstroke Rockpool, up-market steakhouses, Italian ristorante Rosetta, modern Chinese powerhouse Spice Templeand fast-food burger joints with “slow food values.”

Though Perry cut his teeth as a chef in his native Sydney and started building his reputation as a restaurateur there, he has since made a favorable and flavorful impression on both Melbourne and Perth.

As a consultant for Qantas, Australia’s oldest and largest airline, Perry has brought in-flight dining to new heights with on-craft cooking (say goodbye to pre-fab mush), fresh, seasonal ingredients, and inventive menus fit for High Street establishments in the world’s best cities.

Here’s a look at the world through Neil Perry’s unique lens, and appetite:

Leslie Trew Magraw: You were born in Sydney, and still live there. When friends come to visit, where do you take them for a meal—besides your own restaurants?

Neil Perry: Well, that’d be hard, because I’ve got the best (laughs).

Being so close to Asia, Sydney has an incredible Chinatown and Koreatown. There’s even a little Thai Town springing up now. I’d definitely take them to Golden Century, or to Madang for some Korean barbecue.

If they were looking for finer dining, more like [my flagship restaurant] Rockpool, I think the chefs doing a great job in Sydney are Peter Gilmore—who just opened another terrific restaurant in the Sydney Opera House called Bennelong—at Quay and Ross Lusted, who’s cooking great food at the Bridge Room.

There’s also a new generation of young cooks with great training [who are] opening up restaurants in parts of town where they can afford the rent. They’re making their own bread and butter and doing all the things we do in fine dining, but (Read more...)

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