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Neil Perry
, 1997

by Selina Snow

synthetic polymer paint on canvas (support: 76.0 cm x 56.4 cm)

Neil Perry AM (b.1957), chef and restaurateur, was the head chef at Barrenjoey Restaurant at Palm Beach before establishing the pioneering Blue Water Grill at Bondi, which he described as ‘surf, sand and sauvignon blanc’. In 1989, he opened Rockpool. Over 27 years, it went through a number of transformations, but by the time he closed the fine-dining establishment in 2016 it had received a total of 66 hats from the Good Food Guide. His other initiatives have included Wockpool at Darling Harbour, MCA Café at the Museum of Contemporary Art, XO, Rockpool Bar and Grill, Spice Temple in Sydney and Melbourne, the Rockpool Grill in Melbourne’s Crown Casino and Burger Project in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. He has also developed menus for Qantas, including Qantas First lounges, and Neil Perry Fresh products for Woolworths. Author of many popular cook books, including the frequently republished The Food I Love, and a well-known presence on Australian television through Masterchef, Rockpool Sessions and Restaurant Revolution, Perry attributes his success as much to a strong business plan as to the quality of his offerings.

This portrait is based on 16th century Spanish paintings that symbolise wealth with produce. Snow placed the snapper above Perry's head because the fish he uses are sourced exclusively for him.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 1999
Accession number: 1999.65