Neil Perry is joining forces with David Jones to revamp the retailer’s four Foodhalls.
Neil Perry – chef, restaurateur, author and Qantas’s creative director of food, beverage and service – is further expanding his food empire, with the announcement that he’s partnering with David Jones to revamp the retailer’s Foodhalls.
Under the arrangement, Perry will consult on the layout, look, and food and beverage offerings of DJ’s four food halls in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Sydney’s Market Street store will be the first to experience that Perry magic. “We’re doing some pop-ups in Market Street,” the chef tells Travel Insider, “and then there’s a whole food strategy going forward.”
While Perry is cagey on the details, he says counter seating will be retained, as will seating through the respective halls [but] “Australia is a very multicultural place; it has changed so much in the past 10 to 15 years so we really need to reflect that.”
While the Foodhalls will be unmistakably David Jones, “there will be some things that make it obvious that I’m involved”, he says. “I’m operating very much like I do with Qantas; we’re working really hard to make sure we achieve some great things.”
In a statement, David Jones CEO John Dixon said, “Neil Perry brings an innate understanding of all things food in the Australian market and an unquestionable instinct for pleasing the Australian palate.”
In August 2014, David Jones was purchased by Woolworths Holdings Limited, a South African-based company. (“They’re more Marks & Spencer than the Woolworths we know here,” explains Perry.) “They’ve got a great food business and they see food as being a very important part of what DJs is doing,” he says. “They talk about sustainability, they talk about community, they talk about The Good Business Journey, which is all about doing the right thing.”
Perry is thrilled with the group’s focus. “Sometimes in these environments,” he says, “the guy who’s running food could also be running shoes but these people are so enthusiastic about food. That’s what is super-exciting.”
David Jones currently has 41 stores nationwide, four of which operate a Foodhall: Market Street and Bondi Junction in Sydney, Bourke Street in Melbourne and Hay Street in Perth.