When veteran chef Kylie Kwong announced the closure of her Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong in January, it sent ripples through the Australian dining scene.
Throughout the restaurant's 19-year history (which included a relocation from Surry Hills to Potts Point) Kwong made her mark with her distinctive take on Cantonese cuisine fused with native ingredients and organic produce. She's also passionately advocated for restaurants to put more insects on our dinner plates from as far back as 2013, when she introduced stir-fried crickets to Billy Kwong's menu.
So why close Billy Kwong? And why now?
In a one-off event in March at Sydney's Carriageworks (of which Kwong is an ambassador), she'll be answering the difficult questions with Sam Sifton, food editor at The New York Times. On the conversation agenda is Kwong's philosophy on creativity and cooking, how to challenge diners, and the current climate of food and the restaurant industry. The discussion will also focus on Kwong's new beginnings, and what ultimately led to her decision to voluntarily call it quits on her celebrated eatery.
Aside from Ferran Adrià — who closed his tiny Catalan restaurant El Bulli in 2011 despite topping The World's 50 Best Restaurant list an impressive five times — it's a move few chefs have dared to take.
Sam Sifton in conversation with Kylie Kwong, Wednesday 13 March, 6–7pm. Tickets are $20 (plus a booking fee). carriageworks.com.au