Kylie Kwong: Celebration, Collaboration, Community
Kylie Kwong’s iconic Sydney restaurant, Billy Kwong
, is based on a simple three-word mantra: celebration, collaboration, community. As one of Australia’s most renowned chefs, Kylie Kwong
’s motivation goes beyond presenting mouth-watering meals.
“What is important in my daily practice as a chef and restaurateur is to be able to do and offer something meaningful and positive,” she explains.
To help her achieve this, Kylie adopted three simple yet deeply consequential words to drive her deeds; celebration, collaboration, community.
Celebrate has multiple meanings and Kylie embraces them all. At Billy Kwong, she celebrates her community collaborators and producers by shining a light on their individual stories.
For instance, Kylie honours her friend and fisherman Mark Eather’s commitment to sustainable fishing methods, as well as Mike and Gayle Quarmby of Outback Pride, who promote the native food industry.
In terms of the good-time aspect of celebration, Chinese New Year is an annual highlight for Kylie. “Every Chinese New Year my family has a huge gathering. There’s about 70 of us and the table is groaning with all our dishes.”
These include traditional Chinese recipes like her uncle Jimmy’s freshly made biodynamic Hokkien noodles which he leaves uncut, as, Kylie explains, “the longer the noodles, apparently, the longer your life.” But Kylie also uses this occasion to celebrate being Australian-Chinese, offering dishes such as stir-fried native blue swimmer crab with black bean and her house chilli sauce.
When it comes to collaborators, quality is at the heart of Kylie’s choices. One long-term collaborator is Füri
knives, a staple in her kitchen for over 15 years.
“First of all I bought a Füri knife for use at home,” she says, “I just loved the versatile, practical and highly efficient ‘East-West design’, being a person who loves cooking both Eastern and Western-style food. Now I also use Füri knives in my kitchen at Billy Kwong, because their superior design, exceptionally high quality and strength and overall integrity is brilliant for professional use.”
Then there’s Mike and Gayle, whose collaboration has helped Kylie to discover how to integrate Outback Pride native produce into her Cantonese-style fare.
Kylie is a great supporter of her community, including being food ambassador for The Wayside Chapel
. Part of that role involves a unique collaboration with Doug Purdie of The Urban Beehive
. “He installed a Billy Kwong beehive up on The Wayside Chapel’s rooftop garden. Visitors tend to the bees and we buy the honey back and so the love goes around.”
You can also find Kylie on Saturdays at Sydney’s Carriageworks Farmers Market delighting the community with her offerings, including steamed pork buns marinated in Wayside Chapel honey.
Kylie’s approach is certainly inspiring and for those looking to be more community minded, her advice is simple: “Just get out there and do it!”
Where to buy
Furi is available at Myer, David Jones and all good independent housewares stores as well as online at furiglobal.com
Try Kylie's delicious stir-fried beef with black bean and chilli sauce recipe