Visitors to Qantas’ first-class international lounges in Sydney and Melbourne this month will find several new items on the menu that are in fact not “new” at all.
Indeed, they will present the taste buds of the traveler with a blast from the past as Qantas celebrates 25 years of its culinary collaboration with chef Neil Perry.
This relationship started when The good weekend The magazine featured Perry, Tetsuya Wakuda and other renowned Australian chefs on how airlines could improve their in-flight meals.
Qantas instructed Perry to keep his word, starting with a revamp of the airline’s Boeing 747 First Class menu in 1997.
This one-off consultant role gradually expanded to see Perry become Qantas’ creative director for food, services and beverage, overseeing premium menus on the air and at domestic and international lounges.
To celebrate this quarter-century milestone, the Red Roo and Rockpool hat chef have delved into recipe archives to bring back some of Perry’s most popular dishes.
Here are the special dishes added to the restaurant menu all day from First Qantas Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne in November.
Crab, pork and green mango salad
One of the oldest dishes in Perry’s repertoire, sweet crab and pork salad has been a recurring feature on Qantas’ in-flight menus since the early 2000s.
He created this dish following a trip to Thailand in 1989 where he was inspired by pairing sweet and salty crab with rich sweet and spicy pork, topped off with a tangy, sour and slightly spicy nam jim dressing. sweet.
And it’s not a big flat, so feel free to add one to your standing order
Duck stew with pappardelle
This dish was part of the first Qantas in-flight menus designed by Neil Perry in 1997 and was inspired by a trip to northern Italy early in his career.
Ragú remains a long-standing classic dish that features on Qantas menus around the world, including several times on the winter menu at Qantas First Lounges.
Perry first discovered the tiramisu-like Torta di Verona at Taylor’s, a Sydney foodie destination, and it’s been a favorite ever since.
Dressed in blueberries and toasted almonds, it was among the featured desserts on the December 2019 launch menu of Qantas’ first-class lounge in Singapore.
Coming from the 2017 opening of the Qantas London Heathrow Lounge, this ‘mistaken’ Negroni of Campari and sweet vermouth is lightened up with sparkling Prosecco instead of gin, although it still retains a pronounced quinine edge that some will find it too bitter, while others will order seconds (and thirds).
If you are heading to any of the domestic or international countries Qantas Business Loungeshere are some of the dishes you can expect to see (availability varies by lounge):
Roasted Pumpkin with Red Curry Sauce, Coconut and Green Chilli Sambal (Vegan): This curry is a tribute to Perry’s travels in Southeast Asia, which inspired many dishes featuring the aromatic fragrance and complexity of Thai ingredients. Dishes of this style are regularly featured on Qantas menus due to their satisfying and delicious flavors.
Fettuccine with bolognese ragu: Inspired by Perry’s travels in northern Italy, this dish is essentially simple and first appeared on Qantas’ international business class menu in the early 2000s.
Meatball Sandwich on Ciabatta with Tomato Stew: From visits to Chicago and New York during his early years at Qantas, Perry has loved these simple street food examples of the American Italian culinary tradition – savory meatballs and tomato stew on a sandwich. Subs have been perfect for in-flight dinners and snacks in Qantas lounges since 2009.
Kung pao chicken bao with Sichuan pepper and cashew nuts: Perry fell in love with the interplay of aromatic spices, dried chilli and numbing Sichuan peppercorns at a Sichuan restaurant in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. These bao filled with kung pao chicken – and many other variations – have been featured in all Qantas lounges since 2012, especially the Singapore Business Lounge.
Three cups of chicken with bok choy and jasmine rice: On his first trip to Shanghai with Qantas in the early 2000s, Perry loved the balance of flavor that comes from the fragrant addition of three equal measures of soybeans, black vinegar and sesame oil at the end of the cooking.
Grilled prawns with lemon and aioli: Fresh barbecued prawns are quintessentially Australian in their simplicity and delicious flavor and showcase the quality of seafood available in Australia. Barbecued prawns were featured at the opening of the Perth International Show when Qantas launched direct flights between Australia and London in 2018.
Reflecting on the past 25 years, Perry reveals local tastes have become more adventurous, with access to indigenous ingredients allowing the team to incorporate unique Australian flavors.
“In 1997, gourmet pizza, fusion cuisine and chocolate lava cakes were among the most popular dishes,” Perry recalls, looking back to a year whose pop culture highlights included the Motorola flip phone. , The Spice Girls and Titanic.
“Fast forward to today and Australians have embraced a wider range of cuisines from around the world, from Japanese to Indian and Middle Eastern dishes and we’ve loved introducing customers to some of these new flavors.”
Perry says it’s not only been “fantastic to see a wider curiosity around international cuisines” but also embracing indigenous ingredients which “have allowed us to incorporate some really great and unique Australian flavors into our dishes like lime, Kakadu plum and lemon myrtle.”
Additional reporting by David Flynn