Peter Rowland has been feeding Melbourne since 1962. From humble beginnings the Peter Rowland business has grown to become one of Australia’s most successful, innovative and respected food and entertaining companies.
The Peter Rowland story began in Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula where 24 year-old Peter Rowland OAM saw a business opportunity to sell sandwiches and cold drinks to local beachgoers.
Buoyed by the success of his sandwich venture, Peter headed to Melbourne where he set up shop as a society caterer. A born hospitalitarian, with a Virgo’s obsession with logistics, and possessed with other-worldly charm Peter attracted the attention of the cream of Australian business and society. From corporate headquarters and commercial kitchens in South Yarra Peter Rowland engineered what would become legendary parties for business titans including Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer, Alan Bond and Christopher Skase as well as iconic major events such as the Melbourne Cup Carnival and Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
One thing Peter was clear about from the word go was that everyone who crosses his path is an individual, with different needs and wants. No two Peter Rowland events have ever been the same. The Peter Rowland brand built its reputation on creativity and theatre, elevating catering to unseen and unique new heights.
Over the years, the business has grown from a boutique catering and events company to a multi-faceted food and entertaining business. The group’s portfolio includes exclusive private event management, major event catering, retail and hospitality consultancy, restaurant, café and venue management and e-commerce. From 2019 after feeding Melbourne for more than 50 years the iconic Peter Rowland experience is now also available in Sydney.
We are passionate about what we do, and we’re also passionate about our clients. That means excellence and integrity are key to everything we do, and respect for everyone we’re involved with goes without saying. We’re an inclusive company – it is a privilege for us to work with people of diverse backgrounds. We strive to minimise our negative impact on the environment, and aim to make all our practices as sustainable as possible.
As Chief Executive Officer of Peter Rowland, Michelle Biddle is responsible for running all facets of the business nationally. Michelle has a proven executive management track record and over 20 years of experience driving sales growth and managing strategic relationships within the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Peter Rowland, Michelle was Founder and Principal Consultant at Biddle Cubed where she partnered with blue chip Australian and global companies to deliver insight led innovation and sales and marketing strategy for accelerated growth. Michelle has held executive leadership roles at major companies including Compass Group, Spotless, RMIT University, State Sport Centres Trust and the YMCA where she has led large teams in hospitality, contract catering, facility management and retail services. In addition to her executive career, Michelle has established and run a niche Melbourne café, thereby completing her end to end expertise within the hospitality industry where she has been client, operator and business developer. Michelle serves on the Board of Directors at Peter Rowland, is tertiary qualified, has provided governance and leadership counsel to public and private educational institutions and has widely volunteered in community and charitable activations.
Favourite food: ‘Coffee & donuts during the day, champagne and cheese in the evening.’
Group Executive Chef
Matthew Haigh’s reputation for exceptional quality, creativity and innovation is intrinsic to Peter Rowland. He’s been with us since 2000 and held various positions before becoming Group Executive Chef. After dreaming of becoming a chef as a child, he completed an apprenticeship at the Cranbourne Hotel and gained a Certificate in Cooking from the Peninsula Institute of TAFE.
Favourite food: ‘Pork, beef or lamb, slow cooked over a real flame with wood or coals, and placed in a nice crusty bread roll.’
General Manager – Catering – Peter Rowland at Victoria Racing Club
After starting his career as a food and beverage attendant, and senior waiter, Andrew understands all aspects of hospitality and has undertaken courses in Food Safety for Food Handlers and the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). He is now firmly in the saddle with the VRC, in the Birdcage, Chairman’s Club and across members’ dining. He works with all VRC departments to maintain and nurture relationships, and deliver the premier racing event, the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington across Derby Day, Oaks Day and Stakes Day.
Favourite food: ‘Vietnamese pho (sliced chicken and rare beef).’
One in four women in Australia experience domestic violence at some point and many of them end up in domestic violence shelters. Social enterprise Two Good, which currently operates across Sydney and Melbourne, supports women fleeing domestic violence through a buy-one-donate-one system, whereby for every Two Good product sold another is given to a domestic violence shelter. Peter Rowland’s partnership with Two Good focuses on scaling its food production and distribution operation to help provide meals to domestic violence survivors throughout Australia.
Looking out for the community is an essential part of the business at Peter Rowland. Our collaboration with Victoria Racing Club sees us support Second Bite, an organisation that supplies fresh food to people in need around Australia. During each Melbourne Cup Carnival, our donations help provide more than 7000 meals to the needy.
Ensuring a sustainable approach to business is an essential ingredient at Peter Rowland. With our role managing major events and various venues, we work to reduce food miles and foster sustainable purchasing practices. We’re a proudly Australian owned business and seek out local food producers, micro suppliers and other local organisations to partner with as a priority.