Australian celebrity chef Kylie Kwong to close down iconic restaurant

Australian celebrity chef Kylie Kwong to close down iconic restaurant
Image: Renowned chef Kylie Kwong. Image: Nine News

Renowned Australian chef Kylie Kwong announced on Monday morning that she will be closing down her inner-Sydney restaurant, Lucky Kwong, and walking away from the restaurant industry for good.

The Australian-Cantonese eatery in South Eveleigh will make its exit from the dining stage at the end of June.

Speaking to Australian Story, the 55 year old said, “I’ve been running my own restaurants — Billy Kwong and Lucky Kwong — for 24 years and cooking professionally for more than 30 years.”

“I just feel like it’s the right time. I have given this piece of my life everything I can give it.”

“There is sadness around this decision, of course, because it’s three decades of my life. But I also feel an excitement because another door is opening, as only it does when we close one door.”

Though she made reference to the current challenges facing the hospitality industry, which has seen many beloved restaurants close its doors, Kwong asserted that this was only a minor part of her decision.

“For all the many challenges that come with being in the hospitality industry, I consider myself fortunate for I have had far more positive experiences than negative,” she said.

“Everyone is feeling it. I have never seen the restaurant industry in such tough times as it is right now.”

Kwong, who is not only a trailblazing chef but also author and presenter, has long been celebrated for her take on home-style Cantonese cooking mixed with native Australian ingredients.

“Integrating Australian native produce into our Cantonese-style food literally revolutionised our menu and viewpoint of the world,” she said.

Her pioneering menu saw native saltbush being used in dumplings, Davidson plums served with roast duck, inspiring other Australian chefs to explore indigenous ingredients.

One of the first female chefs to rise to prominence in the nation’s fine-dining scene, Kwong first became known after doing a 6-year apprenticeship with Neil Perry at his signature restaurants Rockpool and Wokpool in the ’90s.

In 2000, she opened her acclaimed restaurant Billy Kwong alongside the late Bill Granger. The restaurant, originally in Surry Hills, later moved to Potts Point. It was closed down in 2019.

Last year, Kwong was appointed a member of the Order of Australia.

In her Instagram announcement – “I am hanging up my restaurateur hat” – Kwong said she now wanted to use her food background to become more involved with social enterprises and charity organisations. As she puts it, “a continuation of my lifelong passion for food, art, culture and connection.”

“Through the lens of food and interconnectedness, I wish to place all my energy, focus and time into helping share and amplify other people’s stories, particularly the important voices of First Nations people and our multicultural communities, who make Australia the rich and diverse country it is today.”

But first?

A good amount of time to “relax and reflect,” said the chef.



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