Celebrity chef Neil Perry is so excited about the opening of the new David Jones Food Hall in the Gateway Centre this Thursday he is arriving on Wednesday and spending the night in Wollongong so he doesn’t miss a thing.
The owner of Rockpool and other restaurants is the key consultant to a new $100 million food concept roll-out by David Jones which has many reminiscing about days when the retail giant had a food hall in Wollongong in the 1970’s and early 80’s.
Perry said he was looking forward to coming back to Wollongong and maybe catching up with his long time mate, chef Lorenzo Pagnan.
He has had a team of three working on the new David Jones Food Hall as part of the world-class redevelopment of Wollongong Central where 10 new specialty stores will also open on Thursday, followed by Swarovski in November.
More announcements are likely but David Jones alone has put on 200 additional staff in the new department store and food hall which can be accessed on the lower level of the Gateway Centre near TK Maxx or via a new entrance in Globe Lane.
Perry said Wollongong was coming of age as a cosmopolitan foodie city and David Jones was adding to that. He was invited to be involved in that from the beginning and loves what the retail giant is rolling out across Australia.
‘’David Jones realised they wanted to have a really good go at producing some really amazing retail and food service,’’ he said.
‘’They thought getting me involved in the food services was a good idea to create what you will see in Wollongong on Thursday. We do all the menu design. Wollongong has got a really fantastic offer.’’
Perry said there is a little bit of everything, whether people want to eat-in or take food to go. “This is really terrific. I think Wollongong will really appreciate it. Wollongong is our sole focus over the next few days. We want to deliver good food and a great customer experience”.
David Jones’ opening festivities will start at 8.45am on Thursday with the official ribbon cutting. There will be complimentary coffee for people all day, with any purchase. There are also David Jones gift bags for the first 100 customers.
The Neil Perry inspired casual dining restaurant ‘’The Kitchen’’ will be open all day. Mecca Maxima will open at 9.30am.
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