Rockpool rejects WA beef

28 Apr, 2011 03:00 AM
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John (left) and Mathew Della Gola of Della Gola Prime are no longer supplying to Rockpool Bar and Grill in Perth.
John (left) and Mathew Della Gola of Della Gola Prime are no longer supplying to Rockpool Bar and Grill in Perth.

THE restaurant selling Perth's most expensive steak is not sourcing any of its beef from WA.

Despite just about every other meat product (except partridge) on its menu being sourced from WA, Neil Perry's new Rockpool Bar and Grill restaurant at Burswood is only serving up beef freighted in from the Eastern States.

Northcliffe producers, the Della Gola family were initially picked by Mr Perry to be the sole suppliers of beef to Rockpool, but John Della Gola said the business relationship ended recently.

The producers and the premium restaurant decided to part ways following a difference of opinion on the quality and price of Della Gola Prime beef.

Mr Della Gola said he was disappointed restaurant owner Neil Perry wasn't prepared to pay for a quality product.

"He wanted it for virtually nothing," Mr Della Gola said.

"Mr Perry was paying us $18 a kilogram but was selling it for much more.

"He just didn't want to pay for the quality beef."

Mr Della Gola said Mr Perry told him if they sold beef to him at that price he would help develop their label, Della Gola Prime.

Mr Della Gola said he just wanted to be paid a reasonable price for his product.

The Della Golas, including John's wife Helen and their sons, Mathew, his partner Felicity, Joseph and his wife Chelsea along with farm manager Cameron Harris had been supplying 10 mixed breed hormone-free cattle a week to DBC to process for Rockpool.

Only the prime cuts were served in the restaurant, equating to about 250kg-280kg a week.

Mr Della Gola said the cattle he was supplying required more time and effort to get them to the standards Mr Perry required.

"We had to feed them more and for longer," he said.

"We have to get them to the correct weights but they had to be leaner as well because DBC has 12mm fat restrictions."

He said Mr Perry had no penalties on his beef.

Mr Della Gola said he was disappointed the business relationship ended.

He believes the restaurant would be disadvantaged now that there was no WA beef on the menu.

"Word will begin to get around and people will begin to ask questions as to why all the beef in a WA restaurant comes in from over east," he said.

"I'm not bad mouthing him I'm just disappointed, not just for us but for the whole WA beef industry.

"He is getting beef from over east when we have a perfectly good product here."

Mr Perry said he had no problem with the quality of Della Gola Prime's product, their beef just didn't have the flavour he wanted.

"John has some quality beef," Mr Perry said.

"His beef is terrific.

"The difference is, in all of my restaurants I just prefer older cattle and he was processing younger animals.

"I ran with the yearling beef for a while, but comparing it with some of our other steaks it just didn't have that depth of flavour that I was looking for.

"It's not John's fault, he has some beautiful beef, but the Blackmore Wagyu Beef we serve in my Sydney and Melbourne restaurants is 36-month-old and we have 36-month-old Cape Grim Beef and our 30-month-old Rangers Valley Beef.

"We just get a much more predominant beef flavour and I decided to stick with the beef which I have in all the other restaurants."

Mr Perry said it was very difficult to find producers who wanted to commit to supplying older cattle, particularly in WA.

"It's really unusual to find people who are producing older beef," he said.

"In Australia 99.9 per cent of the processed beef is generally yearling cattle and I haven't seen anyone in WA turning off the older cattle.

"It's difficult to get the 36-month-old grassfed as well, but in Cape Grim in Tasmania it rains for 160 days of the year so you can get some reasonable grass out of that."

Mr Perry said the Della Golas had been terrific and he had no problem with them.

"I have been very loyal to the Della Golas," he said.

"I enjoyed John's meat when we had a look at it.

"We kept going with it for a while and then just sort of realised it just didn't have that depth of flavour that I was looking for.

"I have no problem with the family, the whole family is awesome."

Respected WA butcher and owner of Mondo Di Carne, Vince Garreffa introduced Mr Perry to the Della Golas and said it was disappointing to hear the two parties had gone their separate ways but they both have to do the right thing for their individual businesses.

"At the end of the day, Mr Perry is a business man and he needs to do what is best for his business," Mr Garreffa said.

"If he has decided to angle his product towards older beef then there is nothing you can really do."

Mr Garreffa agreed it was very hard to find producers, particularly in WA, who wanted to produce older cattle.

"Nearly everyone (in WA) is producing yearling beef," he said.

"The guys in WA find it hard to grow older beef so no one really does it."

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READER COMMENTS

Emma
2/05/2011 1:09:21 PM, on Farm Weekly

Maybe if WA producers could provide the product the customer (in this case Rockpool) wanted they would buy it. The customer is always right!

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