Neil Perry launches a professional-powered range for the domestic kitchen, writes Maya Kerthyasa.
Neil Perry is coming soon to a home near you. Not in the literal sense, of course, but via Neil Perry Kitchen, a new range of domestic cooking appliances he has produced with Australian brand Omega.
The promise of direct involvement in the project was the initial drawcard for Perry and now, three years down the track, he's on the brink of launching his first collection comprising three ovens, two gas stovetops, two rangehoods, an induction cooktop, a wine refrigerator, and a wok burner.
"[It's] something I've thought about doing for a long time and would have loved to have done probably even sooner," Perry says, "but it's great to have found the right partner because it's like any relationship: if people don't allow you to become fully immersed in it, then it's not as rewarding."
The idea, he says, was to create beautiful, sturdy cookware that ticks the boxes both aesthetically and functionally - filling a gap in a market heavy with products that, according to Perry, want for strength and durability.
"I probably spent days going through what I love, what's important for me at work, and what I hate about the home kitchen," he says, "and then we started to take that into practicality."
The result? Sharp appliances for serious home cooks with big easy-to-read and easy-to-turn dials, streamlined cooktops designed to fit any sized pot or pan, fuss-free analogue oven clocks and a distinct lack of screens and confusing buttons. "It's almost like when you're driving a beautiful luxury car," Perry says. "Everyone else is trying to do all this rubbish; [this is] just a fantastic, simple design."
There's some serious power behind these machines, too. The wok burner - a striking piece of kit with a luxe black-glass and stainless-steel base - has more grunt than anything else in the domestic sphere, while the 90-centimetre built-in oven has a larger cavity than the standard, equalling that of a 90-centimetre freestanding cooker. It's also the first to have adjustable heat outputs to suit different kinds of cooking.
"A lot of stuff just feels domestic and looks domestic," he says, "and we really set out to create something that was in the domestic environment that felt more commercial."
The 10-piece collection, which comes in around the Miele price point, is the beginning of what Perry hopes will blossom into a long-term relationship with Omega. And he already has plans for phase two. He's gunning for a freestanding cooker, an induction wok, a combi oven and a charcoal grill for summer.
The line launches at the end of September, and will be stocked at major retailers such as Harvey Norman. Perry is working on having it featured in the commercial (read: fancy apartment block) end of the spectrum, too. "I'm able to talk to the head buyers and the guys looking after the apartment blocks," he says, "and really put forward the best argument for why these are as good or better than what we're looking at as our major competitors."
Through the venture he hopes to make Australian kitchens a whole lot more efficient and more beautiful.
"I think that visually it'll grab people's attention, and then I think they'll delve into the capability and really enjoy that it's about form and function."