Chef and restaurateur Kylie Kwong has been appointed ambassador for food, culture and community at Sydney's South Eveleigh precinct.
The mixed-use commercial, retail and recreational hub, formerly known as the Australian Technology Park, is being redeveloped by Australian property group Mirvac. As an ambassador for the site, Kwong said she will collaborate with Mirvac and its precinct partners to "create a diverse and dynamic activation program that brings South Eveleigh to life".
Kwong will also open an eatery at the precinct in late 2020. The sustainability-focused chef closed her Potts Point restaurant, Billy Kwong, in June, after 19 years at the forefront of Chinese-Australian cooking.
"This feels like a natural next-step for me," she said. "I've been hanging out in the Redfern space for many years through my involvement at Carriageworks, and South Eveleigh is literally on the other side of the tracks."
When South Eveleigh is completed in 2021, it will be home to 18,000 workers across a mix of heritage sites and state-of-the-art new buildings.
"Our vision for South Eveleigh is not only to create a world-class technology and innovation hub to work and play, but also to build a food precinct that has people and community at its heart," said Mirvac head of retail, Susan McDonald.
Kwong will work with Mirvac on a series of exhibitions, talks and events reflective of the area's history and culture.
"Eveleigh is part of the homeland of the Gadigal, and there's a long and continuing history with the Indigenous community," Kwong said. "This cultural legacy contributes immense value to the area."
A key part of the precinct is Yerrabingin, Australia's first Indigenous urban food farm. Founded by Clarence Slockee and Christian Hampson in 2018, the farm is located on a South Eveleigh rooftop.
Kwong plans to collaborate with Slockee and Hampson on workshops and showcase Yerrabingin's produce at her new restaurant.
"The steamed savoury pancakes I used to serve at Carriageworks Farmers' Market will be on the menu," she said. "I'm very excited about the idea of walking a few hundred metres from my kitchen to Yerrabingin and picking saltbush, samphire and warrigal greens to make them."
Chat Thai restaurateur Palisa Anderson will grow organic vegetables and herbs at her farm near Byron Bay especially for Kwong's new venue, while Saint Peter chef Josh Niland will lend his fish butchery skills to select seafood dishes.
Kwong said the eatery will be "super casual" with a focus on daytime dining.
"The menu will be very simple, but that doesn't mean it will be any less meaningful. I'll continue to explore what it means to be a cook, my message, and how my food can affect positive social change."