Kylie KwongSydney, Australia
Kylie Kwong has become synonymous with modern Chinese cooking in Australia.
As a third-generation Australian, she has drawn on her southern Chinese heritage to reinterpret Cantonese cuisine, combining the use of uniquely Australian ingredients with traditional Chinese cooking methods and flavours.
The foundation of her food is locally grown, organic and biodynamic produce, with a strong focus on Australian native ingredients. Kwong has long championed local producers, especially those using ethical and sustainable production methods.
Her celebrated Chinese eating house Billy Kwong, in Sydney’s bustling Potts Point, is founded on partnerships with the local community and long-term suppliers and producers. From honey and herbs sourced from the rooftop of nearby community service The Wayside Chapel, to project wines, spirits and beers from some of Australia’s most innovative winemakers, distillers and brewers, Billy Kwong celebrates Australian produce and fosters the spirit of collaboration. Her advocacy of sharing and sustainability extends to her involvement with community organisations including the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Oxfam and Half the Sky Foundation.
Kwong’s professional cooking career began at Neil Perry’s modern Asian restaurant Wockpool in Sydney, where she was head chef for four years, followed by her time as head chef for restaurateur Bill Granger at his famous Sydney cafes bills and bills2.
She opened the original Billy Kwong in Surry Hills in 2000, a small and energetic place that breathed new life into Chinese dining in Australia. The successful and much-awarded restaurant moved to new, larger premises in 2014 and is now firmly embedded in the Potts Point community.
Kwong also has a weekly stall at the renowned Carriageworks Farmers’ Market in Redfern, where she uses fresh market produce to make her signature pork dumplings, pork buns and savoury pancakes.
Her journeys back to her ancestral home in China inspired her book My China, one of six books Kwong has written to inspire home cooks to make simple Chinese food and to celebrate food, family, friends and travel. She also makes regular appearances on local and international television programs, including as a mentor on Masterchef Australia.
Her unique contribution to the food world has been recognised internationally, and in 2014 Kwong was named one of Fortune magazine’s Influential Women in Food. Last year Kylie spoke alongside René Redzepi, David Chang, Massimo Bottura, Chido Govera and Rebecca Huntley at the first ever MADSYD symposium at the Sydney Opera House which explored the theme ‘Tomorrow’s Meal.’ Kylie also participated in MADYale 2016; a partnership between Yale University, the Yale Sustainable Food Program and MAD. This program was the first of its kind, aimed at inspiring a new era of leadership in food with consideration of the socio-economic, environmental, and health challenges facing food systems around the globe.
Locally, Kylie has been recognised as Time Out Sydney’s Chef of the Year 2016, the recipient of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide’s inaugural Sustainability award in 2009, and the Innovation award in 2014. Recently Kylie was invited to become a regular contributor to Good Food, The Sydney Morning Herald’s weekly food and dining supplement.
See Kylie on stage at the Good Food Theatre, presented by ILVE at the Good Food & Wine Show in Sydney.