We are delighted to introduce you to Neville Alexander at West HQ – An amazing entertainment venue with great food and memorable experiences at the heart of its diverse range of food outlets, fine dining restaurants and the iconic Coliseum Theatre.
Where does your association and love of food come from?
Having worked in the hospitality industry for 23 years, I’ve had diverse food experiences. I started my career at The Westin Hotel, Sydney (now The Fullerton), then on to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, I held the position of Venue Manager at Taronga Zoo (Spotless) and most recently, General Manager of Food and Beverage for the ATC Group.
My love of good food and how it brings people together drew me to take the role at West HQ. Its commitment to creating locally accessible premium experiences that are second to none, with offerings such as our CHU Restaurant by China Doll providing a new benchmark in dining for our guests.
CHU has received many accolades, including the 2022 Wine List of The Year, a three-glass rating wine list, an Australian Good Food Guide chef hat, and a Daily Telegraph Best in Sydney Yum Cha recommendation. It’s really a rewarding place to be a part of.
My upbringing was deeply entrenched in food, and I experienced diverse flavour profiles from a very young age. I was born and brought up in India with a mother from whom I inherited my love of food.
Then, as a family, we spent more than two years in China, which exposed me to a whole new world of cuisine. From there, I’ve travelled the world with family who live in Canada, and with each visit, I discover new dishes and concepts that I bring home and find ways to inspire the team.
What food-related experience, venue, or occasion has stuck with you and why?
Opening the Me-Gal restaurant at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo was amazing, and to be part of the creation, from the concept to execution, was incredible.
Working with our Executive Chef Gursu Mertle and the Zoo on creating a menu with native ingredients, using sustainable produce and working with local suppliers. Collaborating with Taronga and Dennis Foley, the Cammeraigal traditional custodian, was a privilege and honour.
The team receiving two hats from the Australian Good Food Guide after the first year of operation was a testament to what Gursu – who also now works with me at West HQ – and his team produced on a plate.
How has COVID changed your view of your organisation and its service to your customers?
It taught us many things, but I would say “responsive” and “dynamic” in two words. COVID challenged our industry to embrace technology to manage and improve efficiencies. This period also reminded us of the importance and value of our guests – connection through food is what we’re all about, after all.
At West HQ, we have a huge percentage of long-term staff working with us, who I wholeheartedly attribute to the fact as a business, we valued and looked after the team through COVID. The knowledge and relationships that our team has created with our guests over the years helped members return to the club, knowing it’s a safe place with familiar faces. It’s what we do here at West HQ.
For many years, we’ve focused on creating a destination that provides our guests with diverse experiences and offerings that meet our community’s ever-changing needs, including COVID-19.
What is the most important consumer/customer trend ahead of us?
The big one is sustainability, and it’s an important one. The good news for businesses and consumers is that it’s a trend that’s becoming more and more affordable, too. From a business perspective, it is important to ensure that it is doing everything towards this goal with a united vision, and it extends to:
- looking at menu designs
- sustainable and ethical procurement framework
- packaging and service options
- recycling plans
- water and power efficiencies
- operational waste diversion plans from landfill.
“Partnering with Foodbuy is amazing as it streamlines the entire supply chain and helps us focus on the operation. Foodbuy has been adaptive to the constant change and growth at West HQ, and it is great to have a team that is there to help and support always.”
~ Neville Alexander
Executive General Manager Food & Beverage, West HQ